Maybe what the world needs now is a romance that surprises and delights, stings and hurts and hangs on that sense of longing the great ones get across.
Maybe it’ll be Canadian. But it won’t be “Space & Time,” a wan, waffling 90 minutes of cute (ish) romantic predictability.
The leads are almost likeable, the situations almost believable, the breakup totally pre-ordained and everything post-break-up pretty much what you’d expect.
Siobhan (Victoria Kucher) is a PhD candidate in experimental particle physics. Sean (Steven Yaffee) is a Toronto photographer. They’ve been together for years, and we meet them on their anniversary, taking the ferry over to Wards Island for a little fireside camp-out.
She broaches the idea of “multiverses,” and how there might be “badass” or hip or more-in-love versions of them in another universe. He’s fretting over “pushing 30.”
And he takes her picture, and our first real hint of trouble emerges.
“You think it’s been years since you’ve photographed me.”
She’s thinking of applying to a fellowship to CERN, the research super-collider in Switzerland. He’s leery. “What would I do there?”
The fact that her sister (Alex Paxton-Beesley) is getting married presses in as well. Where do we go from here?
“I want you to be with me while I figure this thing out!” That’s as romantic a proposal as a fella’s likely to get at 30. Right?
In a flash we go from that to the Big Fight and Big Bluff — which is, or course, called.
“Maybe we should just break up!”
One conceit of writer-director Shawn Gerrard’s film is how grim the other couples are that Siobhan do dinner dates with. Sister Frances (Paxton-Beesley) and her fiance (Ish Morris) bicker over his cell phone addiction and her pushiness. And Sean’s pushy, flirtatious new protege, D.D. (Risa Stone) is a highhanded bully to her live-in lover, Hannah (Robby Hoffman).
Another conceit? Well, there isn’t one. Gerrard is content to show us the stereotypical “male” way of moving on from a breakup and the equally stereotypical female path.
And those play out in not-quite-surprising ways as we wander the primrose/thorny rose path to that inevitable finale.
Kucher makes a pretty but colorless lead, with her glasses the only signifier that she’s “the smartest ‘girl’ in my cohort” (of PhD candidates). Yaffee would need to spend two weeks in Florida to rise to the level of “colorless.”
Not that they have a lot of play with here. The only flashes of life are the more broadly drawn supporting characters D.D. — a narcissistic, psychic-consulting impulsive control freak and Alvin (Andy McQueen), Siobahn’s flaky flirt of a classmate who is discovering hip hop — late, and getting into it “chronologically.”
Very “Big Bang Theory.”
In life, even an ill-fated romance can leave traces, treasured traits and moments and scars, big or small, that you carry with you in memory. “Space & Time” takes up none of the former and too much of the latter to feel of any consequence.
MPAA Rating: unrated, profanity
Cast: Victoria Kucher, Steven Yaffee, Risa Stone, Alex Paxton-Beesley, Andy McQueen
Credits:Written and directed by Shawn Gerrard. A Head On Pictures release on Apple TV and streaming platforms.
Running time: 1:29