REVIEW WRITTEN BY NATHAN LERNER/For Digital First Media
The lighthearted Australian romp, “The Infinite Man” involves a brilliant young scientist, Dean (Josh McConville). He’s a nerdish fellow and severely lacking in self-confidence.
Dean is hopelessly smitten with an attractive woman, Lana (Hannah Marshall). To him, she is ideal paragon of perfection. However, Dean is consumed with a gnawing fear that he has lost his dream girl forever.
What’s the solution? He convinces Lana to mark the anniversary of a weekend together by returning to a hotel in the outback. The couple had been there during the previous year. However, after things had gone awry between them, their relationship had fizzled.
Dean has a solution. He will return to the hotel with Lana and try to get it right this time around.
Did Dean bother to make reservations? Did he even confirm that the hotel was still in operation?
Apparently not. When Dean and Lana arrive at the site of the hotel, they discover that it has been abandoned and devolved into a state of dilapidation. There are no personnel on the site to operate the hotel or its dining room. The filthy guest rooms are full of insects, cobwebs, and effluvium. Romantic? Not hardly!
Fortuitously, Dean has brought along a time machine with him. If he goes back in time, can he get it right and resurrect his failed relationship with Lana?
When Dean returns in time, there is still no one working at the hotel. However, prior versions of him and Lana are already there.
Adding to the complications, Lana’s ex-boyfriend, Terry (Alex Dimitriades) shows up. He’s a studied contrast to Dean. While Dean is a brainiac, Terry is a macho man, who is a former Olympic javelin tosser. He carries his spear with him at all times. Is it purely a vestige of his Olympic days or can it become a weapon to attack Dean?
Dean is totally intimidated by his bête noire. He reminds Lana, “You once said Terry is more athletic in bed.” She tries to downplay Terry’s superior lovemaking. According to her. “He just has different influences,” Lana clarifies. “Terry’s approach to sex is very Old Testament. You know, sword and sandal, blood and guts.” Taken aback, Dean asks Lana to characterize his own style in the boudoir. She cites a litany of Dean’s abstruse cerebrotonic influences. “Dialectical theater, German philosophy, the metronome, Pythagoras.” It’s doesn’t exactly evoke the intense visceral passion that Lana had apparently experienced with Terry.
Now, Dean must compete with a prior analogue of himself as well as Terry to win back Lana’s affections. It all becomes quite complicated as multiple permutations of each character, hailing from different eras, is simultaneously running around the film. All three become entrapped in an ongoing time loop.
In his debut feature, screenwriter/director, Hugh Sullivan, demonstrates a light touch. Despite an extremely limited budget, he constructs a pleasant excursion in time, replete with some cleverly amusing moments. As with all time travel films, the plot mechanics don’t make much sense. The viewer simply is obliged to accept the film’s arbitrarily constructed conceptual conceits.
“The Infinite Man” is the latest in a spate of time travel films, which constitute a burgeoning subgenre. In each of them, characters go back in time in an effort to restore a faltering romantic relationship. This includes the 2014 vehicle, “The One I Love” and “The Almanac Project” from earlier this year. These two aforementioned films played it straight and were subverted by an oppressively serious tone. By contrast, “The Infinite Man” maintains its jocular spirit throughout. Even as it engages in time travel, it mocks the absurdity of the premise.
The film is marred by its overt flaws in conceptualization, However, “The Infinite Man” is an upbeat time travel rom com, which is redeemed by its endearingly heartfelt sincerity and some amusing moments.
*** No MPAA rating 85 minutes
Nathan Lerner sees over 200 feature films a year. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.