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'About Time': Time travel makes the central romance a little creepy

'About Time' stars Domhnall Gleeson as a young man who discovers he has the ability to travel back in time.

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Rachel McAdams (l.) and Domnhall Gleeson (r.) star in 'About Time.'

Courtesy of Universal Studios

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Perhaps, like me, you find the oeuvre of British writer-director Richard Curtis a bit – how shall I put it – twee? As sophisticated comedies go, “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill,” and “Love Actually” were so annoyingly smug that they made me pine for the easygoing niceties of Harold Pinter.

“About Time,” Curtis’s latest recycling of his pet themes, stars Domhnall Gleeson as Tim, a young man who is told by his father (a very good Bill Nighy) on his 21st birthday that, like all the men in his family going back generations, he has the ability to close his eyes and will himself back in time. He can’t change births or deaths, but everything else is fair game.

There’s a creepy subtext to all this, especially when Tim uses his time-travel gifts to woo an American girl (Rachel McAdams) without her assent. Grade: C+ (Rated R for language and some sexual content.)

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