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'In Time' is Simple, Not Cerebral

This sci-fi thriller is entertaining - and that's about it.

The phrase “time is money” is a common one, uttered mechanically by corporate suits and moms alike.  It’s not super deep. It’s just a fact of life. For example, say I make $12 an hour, and I’m craving a ridiculous, Starbucks coffee with extra shots and soy milk. Price: $6. So essentially, those 12 ounces of high-calorie happiness will cost me 30 minutes of my working life. Is it worth it?

This idea, that of time as currency, is the foundation for the new sci-fi thriller “In Time,” starring former boy-bander Justin Timberlake and Allentown darling Amanda Seyfried. With its fascinating premise and beloved actors, there were rumors that “In Time” could be this year’s “Inception.”

Damn those rumors. Maybe without them there wouldn’t be so many grumbling gusses out there. Whereas “Inception” was layered – it made you think and forced you to analyze -- “In Time” has as much subtlety as a gorilla in roller skates.

That’s not to say it’s a bad film. It’s actually fairly entertaining - a perfect Friday night popcorn flick with just enough car chases and flashes of sexy to keep both genders engaged.  It’s just that its message is too close to the surface, too blatant, to make the movie-going experience very cerebral.

Timberlake plays Will Salas, an everyday man just working to live in a rough neighborhood in (what I’m guessing is) a post-Apocalyptic America. At this point, humans have been genetically engineered to stop aging at 25. (How? We never find out.)

Arguably, this has its perks. 1) Flawless skin, 2) high metabolisms, etc. Unfortunately, the second people cross that timeline, a glowing clock on their left arm is activated and begins counting down the seconds to their death – automatically set for one year later. And in a world where rent, a cup of coffee or a toll road may set you back one day, two weeks or even one month of “life,” it’s common for the poor to live with only 24 hours on their clocks.

Naturally, the elite of this new America, the residents of the swanky New Greenwich, horde all the “time” for themselves, flaunting thousands of years on their arm, while their fellow citizens drop dead in the streets daily. It's a society with strictly separated classes, so when a stranger in town gives Will the time on his clock, all hell breaks loose.

You can practically hear the writer stage whispering and winking: “It’s about money in America.”

Yeah. We got it. Thanks.

The charm of Timberlake and Seyfried paired with well-polished cinematography carry the day, but I'd still recommend the popcorn.

Catch it at:

* The Regal Cinema at 1 p.m., 4:20 p.m., 7:20 p.m. and 10:10 p.m.

*  in South Whitehall at 1:30‎ p.m., ‎4:30‎ p.m., ‎7 p.m. and ‎9:40 p.m.‎

* The  at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley at 10:35 a.m., 11:35 a.m., 1:20 p.m., ‎2:20‎ p.m., 4:10‎ p.m., ‎5:10‎ p.m., ‎7:05‎ p.m., ‎8:05‎ p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.

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