Is ‘Time’ Running Out on Justin Timberlake’s Movie Career?
Bruce Fretts: Justin Timberlake is back with his fourth film in the last year, the sci-fi thriller In TIme. The question is, Bret: Is Timberlake overexposed? (And no, I’m not talking about his bare ass in Friends with Benefits.)
Bret Watson: The time didn’t run out fast enough for me with this movie. Not that this is Timberlake’s fault. The premise is that in this particular dystopia people stop aging at age 25, at which point time is a currency that can prolong your life if you can get it. I would have surrendered my time to you, Bruce, to get out of this movie sooner.
Bruce: I used my time wisely—I nodded off halfway through the movie and took a nice nap. The time-is-money premise didn’t capture my imagination, and Timberlake’s lightweight performance didn’t help. He can be a talented comedian, as he’s proven in his SNL guest-host stints, and he’s capable of giving a solid dramatic performance, as he did in The Social Network. But Justin Timberlake, action hero? That’s not N Sync.
Bret: This movie is a basic vanilla thriller, with chases and gun fire and a gimmick syrup: They’re not fighting over drugs or money, they’re fighting over time! Which becomes a heavy-handed parable for capitalism, if you want to stay awake to track it. Timberlake is Robin Hood, then teams up with alien-eyed petite vixen Amanda Seyfried to become Bonnie and Clyde. Sounds like you didn’t want to give her the time of day.
Bruce: Timberlake does like bug-eyed women: He played opposite Mila Kunis and Emma Stone in FWB, and now not only does Amanda Seyfried play his hostage-turned-love interest, but Olivia Wilde plays his MILF-alicious mom. Too bad she—SPOILER ALERT!—dies in his arms early in the film, leading to a laughable crying scene from Timberlake.
Bret: My wife and I were bothered by some dumb short cuts in logic for the sake of drama. For instance, in the climax, they steal one million hours, yet don’t bother to borrow some time to make sure they can escape, just so they can have a scene where they run while time is running out. This movie allows for endless wordplay with the word time. You’ve exercised admirable restraint so far.
Bruce: Life’s too short. And this movie’s too long. It takes a bizarre detour into romantic comedy once Seyfried decides she wants to go along for the ride. Timberlake’s strength as an actor is playing over-the-top characters like he does on SNL, but he keeps taking milquetoast roles in movies like Bad Teacher and In Time.
Bret: Did you like Vincent Kartheiser basically reprising his lizardy role on Mad Men?
Bruce: He was the only one in the movie who looked like he was having any fun. Everyone else just seemed bored, including me.
Bret: The movie is almost relentlessly glum. It doesn’t have much fun with its premise. You get the feeling the creators were just…punching the clock! See what I did there?
Bruce: It’s just another one of those sci-fi lite movies like The Adjustment Bureau and Source Code that takes a simple-minded concept and runs it into the ground with endless chase scenes interrupted by cutesy banter between the romantic leads. It tries to be a date movie that caters to everyone—it’s an action movie for the guys and a romance for the ladies!—and ends up pleasing no one. Remind you of your dating days?
Bret: Reminds me of seeing movies with you, actually. By the way, I watched Adjustment Bureau again recently, now that it’s on DVD, and liked it even more. It has the leaven that makes In Time seem like a lead pancake. You know, like the kind you make.
Bruce: Just for that, you’re not getting one of the mini-pumpkin pies I baked today. Oh wait, I just realized Timberlake has made five movies in the past year. How could I forget his immortal voice work as the sidekick in Yogi Bear? That was a real Boo-Boo.
Bret: Who else has been in far too many movies this year? I feel like there must be a good crop of nominees.
Bruce: Timberlake’s still trailing Jessica Chastain, who’s got eight movies coming out this year, but the difference is that more than one of hers, like The Help and The Debt, were good. For Justin, it’s all been downhill since The Social Network. So do you think it’s time for Timberlake to say “Bye, Bye, Bye” to his film career?
Bret: I guess that’s a reference to a song of his? I’ve never seen him as a heartthrob, the way you did.
Bruce: Maybe they should have called this movie In Sync instead of In Time. It’s as generic as its title. Timberlake should try a broad role in a big screen comedy—but maybe he’s still sore from playing Jacques Grande in Mike Myers’ The Love Guru.
Bret: I heard you were still sore from playing Jacques Grande in your bedroom.
Bruce: Tantra’s a bitch, my friend. Timberlake took a break from his recording career to pursue movies, but perhaps he should go back to pop music. Isn’t it about time he brought sexy back again? We can’t do it all by ourselves.
Bret: I tried to bring back sexy all by myself, but it turns out to be much more fun with a woman.
Bruce: That’s not what your wife said.
Did you make time to see Justin Timberlake’s new movie? Post a comment, and Two Cranky Guys will respond!