Film / TiMER

"Take the guesswork out of love."
TiMER product advertisement

A 2009 sci-fi/rom-com film written and directed by Jac Schaeffer and starring Emma Caulfield, TiMER takes place in an alternate history version of the United States in which, at some point in The '90s, the TiMER—an incredibly accurate device that counts down to the day the wearer will meet his or her destined mate—was invented, changing the way people thought and acted about romance and relationships.

The story follows Oona (Caulfield), an unfortunate woman whose TiMER remains blank, indicating that her “one” has yet to even get a TiMER, and her solution to this has been (unsuccessfully) dating numerous TiMER-less men and forcing them to get one installed. Oona is forced to change her dating habits when she meets Mikey (John Patrick Amedori), a young and impulsive grocery clerk and drummer with a functioning TiMER. He invites Oona to live in the present instead of stressing about the future.

This film provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Lampshaded when Mikey admits that he found Oona's practice because "there aren't many orthodontists with your first name."
  • Alliterative Name: Oona O'Leary
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The TiMER wrist implants. Basically if you and your soulmate both have a TiMER, it is able to discern not only that you have a match but the very day you will meet. Whether it's tomorrow or decades from now. If your soulmate is not wearing a TiMER, it will stay blank and may remain so if they never own one. Most importantly for the story they do in fact function as advertised, boasting an incredible 98% success rate, which is utterly miraculous considering current US divorce rates of around 50%.
  • Batman Gambit: Oona's father, Rick O'Leary orchestrates his own separation through a gesture of affection. He knows that things are not going to work out with Marion, so has them both get a TiMER implanted. Once their respective TiMERs went active and they weren't soulmates, it would mean the end for them. Rick's didn't even start, whilst Marion's began a countdown for someone else.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mikey, in spades.
    Oona: When do you get off?
    Mikey: What?
    Oona: Do you want me to repeat myself?
    Mikey: Yeah, into the loudspeaker if you don't mind.
  • Disappeared Dad: Oona's biological father, Rick O'Leary, separated from her mother at a young age and hasn't seen his daughter in many years. Apparently when her mother got a TiMER a countdown began, it meant someone else was her soulmate, so they split. Oona believes her father never got an implant due to his more "bohemian" lifestyle, however Rick reveals he does have one. In fact it was his idea to get TiMERs in the first place. Once Marion knew they weren't soulmates, something Oona's father already surmised, she would finally admit they wouldn't work out.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Oona dreams about boiling eggs with her one, who is wearing a mask. Later, when she breaks up with Mikey, he's boiling eggs. Then when she sees Dan, he has the same mask.
  • Dumb and Drummer: Mikey. Among other foibles, he interrupts a brief conversation twice because he doesn't know the words being used. His idiocy helps make the outcome less of a foregone conclusion based on the TiMER alone.
  • Easily Forgiven: Steph to Oona after Oona decides to keep her TiMER.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: Early on the film shows a montage of various couples talking about finding each other via the Timer implant as part of an advertisement.
  • Handwave: Whilst there's some talk about personality variables and oxytocin levels, it's never really explained how the TiMER functions; it's simply an accepted fact that it does. Even by Mikey.
  • Happily Married: Oona’s mother and stepfather.
  • The Hedonist: Downplayed with Steph. She frequently enjoys partying, drinking and having causal sex with men who have active TiMERs (so they'll want no attachments). The reason for this is that her TiMER countdown won't expire until she's 43. Steph's known from a very early age she won't meet her soulmate for decades and still has another 13 years to go, so decided to enjoy being single as much as possible and gives little thought to ambition or future plans.
  • Hidden Depths: Mikey can speak Spanish and his band is talented enough to become fairly well known locally.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Unromantic but still oddly sweet - when Mikey's roommates start ruining the mood when he and Oona is about to have sex, he yells at them about how he's about to score way way way out of his league, and they'd better not get in the way of it. Oona cracks up and looks flattered at the same time.
  • The Lad-ette: Oona’s stepsister Steph is the crudest person in the entire film.
  • Likes Older Women: There is a good eight-year age difference between Mikey and Oona by the end of the movie.
  • Love at First Sight: Averted. TiMER employees are quick to note that most romances develop over time, some of them are outright belligerent in the beginning, and it's also mentioned by several people that they didn't fall in love because the TiMER told them to, it just lead them to each other. All relationships are said progress and grow naturally.
  • Magitek: The TiMERS magically tell when you will meet the one you love.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Luz and Marion agree that they would have preferred that Jesse and Soledad’s relationship play out with them both carrying on in secret over the years, then being outraged when they found out and the couple eventually marrying to force their families to accept them. Amusingly they've both had the wind taken out of their sails, what with them being soulmates and all.
  • Meaningful Name: Oona sounds like "one" in Latin, Spanish, and several other Romance languages.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Dan’s last name is never revealed; he is simply known as “Dan the Man” (even in the credits).
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Oona finds her soulmate in Dan but in doing so she breaks the heart of Mikey and damages Steph's friendship with both herself and Dan. Steph also removed her TiMER, potentially robbing her of that potential soulmate later in life.
  • Red String of Fate: The TiMERS basically invoke this. Once it begins you know you're going to meet someone you'll be happy with for the rest of your life and when it goes off that's the person for you. Even if it's your enemy.
  • The Reveal: Oona's soulmate is Dan. It's revealed he got his own Timer moments before Oona had her implant removed.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Mikey at one point has a long, thoughtful monologue about "what's up with those women whose breasts point in different direction." Oona is annoyed enough by the inanity of it to break up with him. Again.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Downplayed but even without factoring in TiMERs Oona and Mikey have quite a lot stacked against them, there's 8 years between them, she's also more mature and intelligent. They are dead in the water once Oona's Timer starts counting down. Mikey's just able to admit it first.