Friday, May 1, 2020

Review: James Vs. His Future Self

Release date: May 1, 2020
Running time: 94 minutes
Starring: Jonas Chernick, Daniel Stern, Cleopatra Coleman

James vs. His Future Self is a sci-fi comedy where time-obsessed scientist James (Chernick) is visited by himself (Stern) from the future.  Future James is trying to convince present James to stop his time travel research because of where it leads their life.  However, Future James has a tough road ahead because present James is driven by his own ego and has yet to make the mistakes that drive him to travel back in time.  Future James is also concerned with convincing present James to pursue a relationship with their best friend, Courtney (Coleman), who they have both been in love with for longer than they care to admit.

Jonas Chernick is great as present James.  His performance highlights the right amount of hopelessness, ego, and obsession with his scientific experiments.  But he also does a good job of making James a likable character, despite all of his flaws.  Stern is likewise great as future James.  The two look enough alike to not make you question that they are versions of each other, and any inconsistencies in their appearance have a clever explanation.  Stern puts on an energetic performance as future James, and the interactions between these two are fun to watch.  The movie has a lot of little touches to remind you that they are each other; similar expressions and mannerisms help to communicate that they are versions of each other without resorting to uncanny valley aging or de-aging.  The rest of the cast help to fill out the world with quirky characters that contribute to the overall story of James vs. His Future Self.  Special note to Coleman, who does a great job as James's friend, love interest, and intellectual equal!

James Vs. His Future Self has a silly concept but executes it well.  It doesn't try to go too far into time travel science, it uses the science to create a story with interesting characters.  I really liked how the movie didn't try to go overboard with special effects; the time travel aspects were all communicated through the character's interactions.  There isn't a ton of music, but it is used to good effect, helping to amplify the dramatic or touching moments equally.  And most importantly, these interactions are well written, with plenty of funny and clever dialog to keep the story going.  The movie is a hilarious film with plenty of introspective, feel good moments.  And it also has some good messages for those of us who are time-obsessed in our own ways and don't appreciate the present for what it is.  

James Vs. His Future Self has a wonderful conflict between future and present James, with plenty of funny and introspective moments in this timely, time-obsessed comedy.

Watch it.

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