Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009) — Lovable losers bend the laws of time. In a bathroom.

“Time travel. It’ll turn your brain into spaghetti if you let it.”

Justin’s rating: Flush to the future

Justin’s review: Desperate for work after being sacked at a local amusement park, friends Ray (Chris O’Dowd), Toby (Marc Wootton), and Pete (Dean Kelly) decide to end the day hanging out at their favorite tavern. What they didn’t know — but really should have suspected — was that this will be the launching point of a crazy adventure through time and space.

This kind of works out well for Ray, as he’s a scifi geek who’s gonzo for time travel (he wants to be a Time Lord). When he bumps into a girl from the future, Cassie (Anna Faris), he finds out a few interesting facts. One, she’s got a built-in time machine. Two, she kind of has a crush on him. Three, Ray’s going to grow up to be a great author.

And four, something very significant is going to happen in this pub tonight.

Sure enough, Pete goes to the bathroom and emerges to find the pub filled with dead bodies (including his own, now with a beard). Another trip, and everything seems back to normal. There’s a “time leak” going on, apparently, throwing people forwards and backwards in time. What’s going on? Who’s causing it? Consider me hooked.

As the trio begin skipping around the timeline, their inherent nerdiness — including Pete, who claims to be above such things — emerges as they examine all of the paradoxes, rules, and consequences of messing around. Yes, Back to the Future is going to be brought up, repeatedly, as are other famous scifi properties.

After watching The IT Crowd a few dozen times, I will instantly sign up for any comedic endeavor that features Chris O’Dowd. What can I say? That rascally Irishman makes me laugh in a special way. But what I’ve found is that O’Dowd is great as part of an ensemble or team, which is why I applaud the pairing with Wootton and Kelly here. The three are a likable bunch of dorks who are clearly in over their heads and desperately trying to return to normalcy. Too bad they end up in the apocalypse because they went to the women’s bathroom, eh?

You’re definitely going to get a Shaun of the Dead vibe with this — there are inevitable comparisons — but I don’t see that as a bad thing. Geeks, comedy, and scifi are an entertaining mixture. Ray in particular channels the secret desires of every nerd who wishes that he or she would indeed get thrown into a time caper or an apocalyptic scenario.

I know that FAQ About Time Travel didn’t really get widespread kudos, but in my opinion, it deserves some more recognition. It’s funny, it’s geeky, and it’s mildly clever. Certainly better as a time travel movie than, say, Bill and Ted Face the Music. If this is your blend of sub-genre, certainly pick FAQ up for a watch.

Didja notice?

  • This movie starts at light speed
  • The Planetary Peace Corps rains fiery death down on unsuspecting civilizations
  • Maybe don’t freak kids out if you want to keep your job?
  • “We’re encouraging people to eat dinosaurs! Why would we do that?”
  • “There should be more to life than dressing up as a bubble.”
  • Ninja yodeler! Torn between two worlds!
  • Use the word “imagineer” instead of “nerd”
  • Killing Hitler is a “time crime”
  • Paris Hilton. “Who?”
  • “I’m sure you’d look good naked.” [puts his fist in his mouth]
  • The Back to the Future sunglasses-and-watch pose
  • Conga pee line — “It’s a science experiment”
  • “Instead of a time machine that runs on karaoke and urine, maybe we could get one with dials on it?”
  • When Pete takes the bet back. Good moment.
  • Nice Narnia reference
  • “I’ll see you around, future boy!”
  • The hugging and the “I don’t want to talk about it” scene. Just all of it.
  • How delighted scifi fan Ray is at arriving in the apocalypse
  • A corkscrew is like the worst weapon ever
  • Pete wins the Pete Lookalike competition
  • The many hairstyles of Anna Faris

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