Film: Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel

A 2009 comedy science-fiction film about time-travel starring Chris O'Dowd & Anna Faris and made by the BBC.

Ray, a science-fiction "imagineer" has just been fired from his job as an entertainer at a theme park. He goes to their local pub that night with his friends, fellow nerd, Toby, and Pete, who is less than enthused about the concept of Sci-Fi. Ray happens to run into a lady named Cassie, who claims to be a time-traveller from the future. Pete tops this story, however, when he returns from the bathroom having seen the entire pub massacred at some point in the near future. From this point, the three friends have a mighty misadventure going in and out of the time-rift gents, landing them 30 minutes in the past, then in peril, then substantially less peril, then life-threatening peril.

This film provides examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: The trio dressed like hobos in the distant future, also discussed by Ray and Cassie in regards to the mechanics of Time Travel itself.
  • Bad Future: The year 2094 seems to be this, complete with ash covered ruined buildings and giant Ants, though it is never mentioned what caused it. As the trio was reading the expiration date off of a bag of possibly-expired crisps the year may be even later, depending on advances in preservatives in the 84 years in between.
    • Pete implies that the far-future has terrible things in it that only come out at night. He admits it might have been the past, but if it was, those things definitely weren't in the fossil record.
  • Bait and Switch: When in the far future, the trio hear a unnerving noise that sounds like giant insects approaching. They flee, only for the noise to be from a man pushing a rusty shopping trolley... and then he gets his head bitten off by a giant ant.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ray showing up with his big gun to confront Millie during the film's climax. it doesn't work out as planned.
  • Big "NO!": Ray when trying to stop Millie from shooting Toby.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: In the opening scene, Ray does a decent American accent (albeit with a bit of Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping).
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Cassie, who despite being a Time Agent, needs Ray to explain certain aspects of time travel to her.
    • Subverted with Ray, whose tendency to get too in-character as a Space Marine gets him fired from his job.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Mentioned by Ray several times, though never actually seems to happen until the end, where changing history seems to have created an Alternate Universe.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Ray's Mark IV Carbomite Assault Staff which is introduced in the opening scene and gets used by Ray against Millie in the climax.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Ray's knowledge about his machine gun scares Millie enough for her to let go of Toby.
  • Cool Gate: Cassie's time portal in the last scene.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Toby, upon Ray's sarcastic question if he would like to stock up on the buffet at the look-alike-party.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Ray does this with his Mark IV Carbomite Assault Staff when having Millie at gun point.
  • Excessive Steam Syndrome: Invoked during Ray's opening star ship simulation.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Cassie has a different hairstyle every time she and Ray meet. This is because months have passed for her.
  • Future Loser: Played straight with Pete, who becomes a nervous wreck after traveling randomly through time for two months.
  • Futureshadowing: Used several times, firstly when Pete briefly sees the massacred pub in the future, but we don't realize it's because a Time Traveller was trying to kill Ray, Pete and Toby until the very end where such a thing happens, nor do we see why they become famous in the future. A very subtle one is also used when the Trio first travel in time, a disguised Ray from further still in the future is seen standing next to Present Ray for a moment, but it's not revealed until later.
  • Grandfather Paradox: Referenced by name by Ray.
    • "Don't fuck anyone! Or you might end up being your own Grandfather."
  • Hair Flip: Cassie when taking off her helmet in the last scene.
  • Handshake Refusal: Ray's boss fires him and refuses to shake hands.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Both discussed and played straight, in that killing famous people from history is a 'Time Crime'.
    • Leading to the amusing revelation that Paris Hilton either wasn't remembered in the future, or at some point was wiped from history and no-one noticed, cared, or wanted to change things back.
  • Insistent Terminology: "Science fiction", not "sci-fi".
  • It Was Here, I Swear: When Pete want to show his friends the massacre he witnessed at the pub, it it gone.
  • Noodle Incident: When future Pete with his Time Passage Beard meets his friends, the ask what he has been through, but he doesn't want to talk about it. Ever again! We later learn that he spend two month in the forest.
  • MacGuffin: Toby's paper.
  • Not What It Looks Like: The old man being shocked by the threesome conga line in the gents room.
  • Our Time Machine Is Different: The Time Travelers have their machines built into their very bones, allowing them to Time Travel at will.
  • Out of Time, Out of Mind: Averted. Pete disappears for what looks like two seconds to Ray, Toby and the viewer, but to him it was at least two months, and he's lost his mind in the meantime. For the rest of the movie he's a little bit off.
  • Pants-Free: When Ray goes to talk to his boss, we see that he wore sweatpans to his funky space suit top.
  • Reveal Shot: When Ray's finished his powerful Rousing Speech we get a look at the audience which turns out to be a bunch of first graders.
  • Rousing Speech: Ray gives one to the crowd of kids in the opening scene.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Cassie in the final scene looks like a man when exiting the portal in her shiny armor and face-concealing helmet.
  • Searching the Stalls: Plot point, as Ray misses to search the last stall where the gang from another timeline hides. Just imagine what could have happened if they met.
  • Shout-Out: Many many Time Travel Tropes are mentioned.
  • The Slow Path: After getting stuck half an hour in the past, the Trio opt to get back to their own time by way of hiding in a cupboard for half an hour.
    • Future Pete spent two month in the forest in between visits to the bathroom.
  • The Stinger: First the end credits are being interrupted by Ray, Pete and a double of Pete. After the credits are fully finished, another 20 second scene features Toby being chased by an animalistic double. As Ray and Pete look on, the double of Pete says "this is all getting a little bit too complicated."
  • Terminator Twosome: Cassie and Millie.
  • Time Passage Beard: Future Pete sports one, after having spent two month in the wilderness.
  • Time Police: Cassie belongs to one of these organizations.
  • Time Travel: Pretty self explanatory from the title.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Averted for most of the movie, all the Trio's time traveling antics don't change time, for example a Future Ray is seen in the red hoodie before we see him put it on and travel back, until the ending where destroying the note that makes the Trio famous reverses time and creates an Alternate Universe.
  • Turn in Your Badge: The treatment Ray gets from his boss early one.
  • The Unreveal: The audience never learns what the great idea that made them famous was.
  • Weapon Stomp: Millie steps on the mysterious note that Toby is trying to reach in the film's climax.