New in select theaters and On Demand from Gravitas Ventures!
Directed by Jason Richard Miller.
Written by Brea Grant, Jason Richard Miller.
Starring Brea Grant, Parry Shen, Richard Riehle
Married couple Madeline (LUCKY’s Brea Grant) and Owen (HATCHET’s Parry Shen) work night and day to develop the world’s first time machine, funded by impatient businessman Mr. Devonshire (OFFICE SPACE’s Richard Riehle). After an especially impulsive trial run, Madeline ran the time machine on herself, which turns out to be a success as she shows up the next morning in the middle of their back yard. But due to a miscalculation, a time loop is made resulting in multiple Madelines returning every morning. This, of course, is a problem and Madeline and Owen plan to kill every Madeline who shows up, but the longer the loop goes, the more the multiple Madelines become savvy of Owen and Madeline 1’s plans, causing more problems.
While time travel stories make my brain itch most of the time, MADELINES explain things and keep them simple enough to entertain and not get lost in the science gobbity-gook. Yes the film has time travel in it and it is a key component to the story, but at its core, this is a story about a husband and wife trying to work through their issues.
It helps that both Brea Grant and Parry Shen are both playing likable characters. Sure, I think Owen acts kind of dopey for a physicist. He’s playing the usual dopey guy trope that has become the mainstay in most stories about people in a relationship. Still, he plays a likable schlub who kind of gets lead around by the short hairs by his own buffoonery and of course, Madeline and her multiples. Brea Grant is on quite a roll with THE STYLIST, 12 HOUR SHIFT, and LUCKY released last year and she gives another fun performance here, highlighting her talent through the subtle differences between her multiples.
That said, the film really falters when it comes to Owen and Madeline having some kind of chemistry together. Yes, this couple is not perfect at the beginning. They are both non-trusting in one another’s abilities. They also seem to be in some kind of competition to see who figures out the science problem of time travel first. That said, there really is very little spark between the two. Maybe the rift is because this is a film made during the pandemic. I don’t know, but there really is nothing other than dialog that tells the audience that these two leads are in a relationship or ever were close.
While the stakes are quite high when it comes to the couple’s relationship, this is a ground level style sci fi film for people who don’t really like elevated science fiction. It’s got enough comedic carnage with multiple Madelines getting kakked in various ways and microbudget fantasy to entertain those who pine for that, but also has some interesting things to say about relationships. MADELINES isn’t going to be the low budget sci fi hit that changes the face of cinema, but it entertained me all the way through as a quirky, low fi, sci fi flick.