History Repeats: Time Addicts

It has not been a good year for Australian comedy films. Then again, there have actually been a few Australian comedy films, so it could have been worse. Streaming service Stan has come up with yet another Christmas comedy in Jones Family Christmas; The Big Dog, a presumably comedic tale of a chump whose love of financial domination messes up his life, scored a limited cinema run. And then there’s Time Addicts*.

The story of a pair of fairly abrasive bickering junkies who stumble upon a drug that can send you through time, it feels like the answer to a film school challenge: “write a feature length script with the smallest possible cast and lowest number of locations”. Once they discover the drug, they never leave the house – but they do spend a fair bit of time criss-crossing the time stream inside its four walls.

So it’s an Australian film about junkies; we’re laughing already. Unfortunately, we’re not really meant to. It doesn’t take long to figure out this is one of those “comedies” where the comedy is entirely in the premise. It’s a movie about time traveling junkies, so obviously the whole thing is hilarious, right? Uh, no.

Depending on your tolerance for junkies, there’s some wry humour early on as Denise (Freya Tingley) – she’s the angry one – and Johnny (Charles Grounds) – he’s the one who won’t shut up – argue and try to score from Kane (Joshua Morton). He’s scary, they owe him, he offers them a choice: take a job or he’ll take their thumbs. All they have to do is break into this run-down suburban house, steal a dufflebag from someone inside, and bring it to him. We already mentioned they never leave the house?

There’s plenty of stand-offs, shouting, blood, extremely tense sneaking around, and shock twists that follow. Laughs? Yeah, nah. Sure, if we were to get into spoilers there are the kind of plot twists that sound funny, but rest assured: as they play out nobody’s laughing. None of which – to make this very clear – makes this a bad film. Just not a good comedy.

The script is well put together, the visuals are well shot (especially considering the limits of the location), and the performances turn out to be well judged. The junkies are annoying (as junkies are) until they’re not, thanks to a combination of personal growth and extreme danger.

The recursive plot – you know, we see a scene from one point of view then as the story progresses and people move around in time, we see it from another – always adds something interesting. The story overall remains engaging, with themes that are explored in a manner that’s thoughtful through to the end. If any of this sounds remotely interesting to you, it’s worth a look.

But again, it’s not a comedy. If only the funding bodies had given us the cash to make our version, where the junkies go directly back to 2002 and spend the rest of the movie in a cinema watching Crackerjack.

.

*in cinemas now!

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