Domhnall Gleeson, left, and Bill Nighy play a son and father with the ability to relive their pasts in 'About Time.' (Murray Close)
Time travel is a tricky thing to pull off in movies, especially in movies that treat the subject casually.
“About Time,” from “Love Actually” writer/director Richard Curtis, takes a ho-hum attitude toward the bending of time and space and, as a result, is undone by plot holes the size of the “Love Actually” cast.
Which is too bad because, space-time continuum issues aside, “About Time” has the makings of a charmer.
Curtis is a master at making warmhearted, literate romantic comedies (he also co-wrote the screenplays for “Notting Hill” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary”), but he falters with his handling of the fantastical elements in his story.
Domhnall Gleeson stars as Tim, whose father (a splendid, daffy Bill Nighy) informs him the men in his family have the ability to travel through time.
There are strings attached: They can only go where they’ve already been before, and cannot, say, change major world events. The point is to go back and fix minor things they wish they would have done before — kiss that girl at that party, for example — and if that doesn’t lead to a desirable outcome, change it again.
But the script is so willy-nilly about the complexities of the issues it introduces that it winds up collapsing.
By the end of the movie, it’s bending and breaking its own rules; it’s as if Curtis didn’t believe in the walls he set up for himself, so he decided to knock them down.
There’s a love story in “About Time” (that’s where Rachel McAdams comes in), but at its core the movie is about fathers and sons.
But Curtis’ screenplay needs more logic and less “Back to the Future.”
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Running time: 123 minutes