Netflixable? A newlywed sees it all slipping away in a time-skipping couple of days — “Still Time”

“Still Time,” or “Era ora,” is a light Italian rom-com about life and a marriage passing you by so abruptly you finally notice it.

The gimmick here — a workaholic newlywed (Edoardo Leo) wakes up the day after his birthday and finds that another whole year has passed, jumping forward a year at a time through a pregnancy, a birth and a marriage that slips away — is so derivative as to give the viewer a sharp case of deja vu.

“Where’ve I seen THIS before?”

But once you get past the glib premise and the fact that it kicks in before we really have time to invest in these characters, Dante and his bride Alice (Barbara Ronchi), it starts to hit you in ways you never expect as Dante tries to intervene, interrupt the inevitability of time and save this marriage he’s checking out of without even realizing it.

The “meet cute” is simple but telling. Dante is so distracted at a New Year’s Eve party that he has to rush in, grab his girlfriend and kiss her as the clock strikes midnight.

Only it’s not “my fiance,” who is wearing the same dress, whom he kisses. It’s Alice, a bit startled and a little wise as she advises him to “drop it” and find Ms. Same Dress in a hurry. He ignores that suggestion just long enough to get his first slap of the new year — by his brand new “ex.”

Cut to his 40th birthday, with Alice dressing up like a ’60s pixie and singing along to “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To” as he scrambles to get up, eat a not-hastily-enough made pancake and get to work.

She makes a big deal out of the day, throwing a surprise party that he is absurdly late for because his insurance job is that demanding, ending the evening with a little “Lord of the Rings” sexual cosplay by the elvish Alice.

Somebody treats you this special, it’s got to be true love, right?

But he awakens the next day to find Alice very pregnant, and as days pass, he awakens to a crying baby and a more and more remote Alice. Sometimes “the change” hits mid-day. He tosses a ball to a puppy he never wanted to get little Galadriel, and a grown dog romps back into the scene.

“Sorry, since when do I smoke?” (in dubbed English or Italian with subtitles).

His bestie Valerio (Mario Sgueglia) hears what he tells him is happening, but blows it off. To Alice, his complaint about time passing is his new “birthday thing,” something he brings up every year, after neglecting her and their home life (she’s an illustrator) another 365 days. A doctor tells him it’s “just stress.”

The early scenes rarely rise to the level of “cute,” with barely a laugh in the first hour of “Still Time.” But as Dante finds himself promoted at work, sleeping with a colleague because his marriage is “on a break,” he finally accepts what’s happening as real and wrong and scrambles to take steps to stop the slow-motion trainwreck that is destroying his marriage.

The problem-solving in the script isn’t particularly impressive, considering what Dante is trying to accomplish and the number of people he’s neglecting and the behavior he is powerless to change in the 365 days he’s not able to follow through on his changes in behavior.

But the performances are affecting even if the message seems a tad trite, and not exactly on-brand, considering Italy’s cultural reputation for family, “la dolce vita” and all that. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and can a marriage really be saved in one?

Rating: TV-MA, sexual situations, smoking

Cast: Edoardo Leo, Barbara Ronchi and Mario Sgueglia

Credits: Directed by Alessandro Aronadio, scripted by Renata Sanio. A Netflix release.

Running time: 1:48


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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