‘Time and Again’ review: Stuck in a time warp

Oggs Cruz
'The biggest problem of the film is that it turns into a big deal what essentially is an inconsequential romance,' movie critic Oggs Cruz says

TIME AND AGAIN. The romance film by Jose Javier Reyes tackles second chances and reversing time. Screenshot from Regal Entertainment's Youtube page

Jose Javier Reyes’ Time and Again is a film that aspires for that exhilarating feeling of a grand romantic fantasy but falls very short, stumbling with characters with the flimsy motivations and even flimsier ambitions. 

Second chances, reversing time

While it is apparent that the film wants to infuse the genre with a bit more imagination with its concept of second chances and reversing time, it only ends up being stuck in a time warp.

The film feels obsolete when it definitely shouldn’t.  

It should be magical but it dillydallies in the most mundane of things. It is drowning in aimless scenes and pointless dialogue. Thankfully, it looks easy on the eyes. The film is painted with pastel colors and there seems to be an effort to make the city feel like it is both modern and timeworn. However, the look seems separated from what the film ultimately evokes. All the artificial color coordination and the syrupy score lend nothing to an exhausting story of a girl who is afforded a stab at fantasy over a silly infatuation.

Apol (Winwyn Marquez) is a barista during the day and a romance writer at night. She is immediately beholden by Ozzi (Enzo Pineda), a law student who regularly visits the café where Apol is working at for his group meetings. Sadly, Ozzi is in a relationship, prompting timid and taciturn Apol to be content watching him from afar as a friend even if she knows very well that Ozzi’s girlfriend is cheating on him. 

Lusterless fashion

Reyes sets the pieces of the story in such a lusterless fashion.

Sure, there are bits and pieces of attempts at being funny here and there, with the characters played by Adrienne Vergara and Madlen Nicolas providing rare joy amidst all the tediousness. Sadly, what overwhelms in the film is its knack of emphasizing the mostly dull passages involving the characters and their irrational inability to just declare their love and admiration. 

The film takes a circuitous and torturous route towards its predictable finish line, which is that fairy tale ending where both Apol and Ozzi end up together. It forces a conceit that is completely unnecessary and ridiculously convenient only to give the entire picture a sliver of novelty because everything else is generic. 

Near the end of the film, Apol is inexplicably given a chance to reverse her choices through a mysterious watch when something happens to Ozzi supposedly because of the decisions she’s made. This happens close to the end, making it feel too handy a way to resolve issues and conflicts. It all feels more than a bit lazy.

Inconsequential romance

The biggest problem of Time and Again is that it turns into a big deal what essentially is an inconsequential romance.

Nothing is earned in the picture. 

All the passages, conceits, and resolutions are products of an imagination that has been misdirected for the most trivial of passions.

A sense of ambition and scope could have taken the conceit further than the uninspired yearnings and obsessions of an uninteresting girl over an even more uninteresting boy. – Rappler.com 

 

 Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the   theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ Tirad Pass.

 Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.