Born ginger and awkward, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) has never been very successful when it comes to girls. But then when he turns 21 his father (Bill Nighy) takes him to one side and informs him that all the men in the family have a special gift, they can return to any event in their past and get to relive it, doing it better. For Tim that means getting a girlfriend and not just any girlfriend but the beautiful Mary (Rachel McAdams). But creating true love even when you can rework it over and over again is not easy.
"Groundhog Day", that was mine and I would imagine many people's thoughts during the first half of Richard Curtis' "About Time" as we meet Tim and witness how he uses his gift to travel into his own past to re-engineer his present and get the girl by doing things right. As such we see how when Tim messes up he runs in to a dark room, clenches his fists and in golfing terms gets a Mulligan. And it is comical and sweet and amusing and everything you would expect from a Richard Curtis movie down to the characters and the way they speak and yes that does mean the occasional moment of posh swearing.
But don't fear as "About Time" is not just some sort of British copy of "Groundhod Day" it embellishes on it and the consequence that come with being able to alter the past to affect the present and the decisions which have to be made. But it is even cleverer than just that because whilst super heroes have their special gifts some times special gifts can't fix everyone's problem and when it comes to destiny some things cannot be changed a lesson which Tim learns. And like with many a Richard Curtis this side of the movie gives it the emotional ups and downs of real life and makes it sweet and touching without losing the entertainment side of things.
Now I've mentioned that "About Time" is typical of Richard Curtis and when it comes to the cast the majority of them fit right at home into his style of movie with Bill Nighy and Tom Hollander being the perfect example of these as is Rachel McAdams giving it that American romantic influence. And then there is Domhnall Gleason who is no Hugh Grant but that is a good thing as he brings something new to the character and makes this an evolution on your typical Richard Curtis movie.
What this all boils down to is that "About Time" is classic Richard Curtis and to be honest it is a nice reminder of what a talented writer he is, taking something familiar as the time travel of a do over and bringing out the touching side along with his trademark humour.