Paramount (M), 102 mins
Time travel movies are always pretty silly, but feature début director Dean Israelite’s epic is enjoyably silly, with appealing leads, some nice gags (“Who’s Doctor Who?”) and lots of wannabe-brain-bending paradoxes more than making up for the typically infuriating (and possibly nauseating) ‘found footage’ shaky-cam carry-on.
A super-smart teen named David Raskin (Jonny Weston) is trying to get into MIT with help from his sister Christina (Virginia Gardner) and besties Quinn Goldberg (Sam Lerner) and Adam Le (Allen Evangelista), and filming everything. Unfortunate circumstances lead him to sulk in the attic, where he finds an old video camera (that still works?) which directs him to one of his late boffin Dad’s hidden and unfinished gadgets.
A little tweaking and appropriately dodgy science and soon the gang, with the addition of cool chick Jessie Pierce (Sofia Black-D’Elia), have fashioned a time machine that somehow fits into a backpack and can take them, at first, to the night before and, later, days, weeks and months previously. And, being teenagers, the five first use the apparatus to right personal wrongs (failed chemistry exams, payback for bullies), visit a past Atlanta music festival and attempt to reverse romantic mistakes, but soon they discover that (duh!) these trips have disastrous ripple effects in the space/time continuum (or whatever you call it), which makes you wonder if they’ve ever actually seen a science fiction movie before (but of course they have, as they talk incessantly about Star Wars, the Terminators and Looper, and even watch Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure on a laptop).
More Chronicle than Cloverfield, this co-production between MTV Films and producer Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes (yikes!!!) plays better than that sounds, with enough energy and goofy charm to make it worth your, um, time.