In this sub Shaun of the Dead, “blokes in a pub go on a crazy adventure film”, three blokes in a pub, Ray (Chris O’Dowd), Toby (Marc Wootton) and Pete (Dean Lennox Kelly) discover a time portal in the loo. This sends them on a crazy adventure where they jump about in time, avoid running into their past selves and discover they have a bigger impact on the future of the world than they ever dreamed.
I recently reviewed another low budget time travel movie called Primer, where I complained it was killed by a lack of humour and relateable characters. Rather than taking itself that seriously Frequently Asked Questions is a full on comedy, so makes for much easier viewing. That being said, it can’t help but be compared to the output of Simon Pegg, with either Nick Frost or Jessica Hynes, next to which it’s substantially less funny.
Made in 2009, this is when Chris O’Dowd was still an awkward nerd, rather than a Hollywood sex magnet, and he does his IT Crowd thing well. His two friends are less good, as they feel too similar to each other and not particularly memorable. Where this gets extra points is for its clever time travelling plot, which explores all the usual paradoxes but in a fun way, from which Primer could learn a lot.
It’s also one for the nerds, with a smattering of sci fi movie references and quotes to spot. It also uses a Boney M song as a motif to signify a time period in the pub, which can only be a good thing.
While it’s not a timeless masterpiece, as a pleasant indie comedy it’s good. It’s like a stoned conversation made into a film, like three blokes wondering what would happen if the stupid ideas they write down were to become hugely successful in years to come. It also has the edge on last year’s Safety Not Guaranteed, where a time traveller puts an ad in a newspaper for a companion to test his machine with. Is time travel comedy now its own sub genre?
Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel is on iPlayer until October 16.