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Love & Teleportation
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by Jay Seaver

"Goes nowhere."
1 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2013 BOSTON SCI-FI FILM FEST: There are times when I watch movies and it's not the obviously bad science itself that bothers me so much as the ignorance about the people and processes involved. It's not the only discipline filmmakers seem to not bother researching, or even the one I know best and can thus most easily call B.S. on, but it feels egregiously abused here, and I don't get why. this is a thoroughly mediocre romance without the science fiction, so why not use those details to make it more interesting rather than silly?

Things start with Brian Owens (Jan Van Sickle), a former professor of quantum mechanics at an Ivy League university who has been reduced to teaching entry-level physics course at a community college. A somewhat nosy but well-meaning old lady (Adair Jameson) has just moved in next door. It's not all bad; the school's art teacher, Shelly (Robin DeMarco), seems interested in him. Initially, though, both are distractions from his goal of finishing a teleportation machine, and he's borrowed a lot of money from a loan shark to fund its development.

I'll accept a teleportation device; Lord knows I've accepted it in other sci-fi movies just because it's convenient. I might even believe that the prototype will run off the power grid in a residential neighborhood. I've got a little more trouble believing that Brian's prior employer wouldn't have retained the rights to the work he's done there, but who knows; that university may act differently than every modern institute where research is done. And maybe someone, somewhere, will see a demonstration of even half-baked teleportation and not be impressed. This goes double for Brian himself; science is a series of incremental steps, and a veteran researcher like Brian despairing when everything doesn't go perfect the first time is a major wrong note hit early, one that persists through the rest of the movie.

The film's got other problems with its script, most notably an ending that is foreshadowed with leaden obviousness but still manages to feel like a cheat when it comes, and also forces a good chunk of the ending to happen off-screen. It uses art just as unsubtly as science, and attempts to smooth over the necessities of the plot in a way that winds up just highlighting what a rough attempt it is.

The cast is amiable enough, serving as an example of how chemistry can sometimes overcome gaps in the actual performances and material. Jan Van Sickle, for instance, seems to have one basic hangdog mode, while Robin DeMarco smiles a little too much and too wide, and they aren't given particularly great dialogue, but seeing them come together feels reasonably good. Adair Jameson is even less well-served by the script, but also doesn't do a whole lot to help elevate it, either.

I suppose that the chemistry between Van Sickle and DeMarco is the most important thing for this movie, which aims to be a romance first and foremost, but it's more capable than great. And it doesn't come out and rub the audience's face in what it does poorly. It just doesn't do much well at all, though, and something that tries to cross genres as it does needs to do at least one very well.

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originally posted: 02/20/13 14:14:46
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2013 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

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Directed by
  Troy McGatlin

Written by
  Troy McGatlin

  Jan Van Sickle
  Robin DeMarco
  Adair Jameson
  Chuma Gault
  David Pevsner

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