I am the guy that loves pretty much any time travel story. I am pretty willing to forgive plot holes and contrivances as long as they allow for a big morality play and allow for bigger, richer questions to be asked. Project Almanac asks one question – If you want a girl really badly that you have no evidence of having any interest in you, would you change the course of history to arrive at the right pick up line to get her?
I understand that this isn’t that far off from the journey of Groundhog’s Day, but at least Phil grows to learn some things about himself and his life beyond the quest for an otherwise unwilling partner.
Project Almanac is sort of Chronicle, Groundhog’s Day, Primer, and Butterfly Effect all in a blender. The assembling of the machine and testing of it is a lot of fun. I love the idea of the main character making the unit small enough to become a Ghostbusters like implement. But dammit is the story of this movie stupid. It’s got the “princess in the castle” syndrome in spades, where a woman is seen as a prize and the twisting plot literally leads to a pick-up line. Much in the way the main character is meant to be a weird amalgamation of jock and nerd, this is essentially sci-fi for frat-houses. It’s got some interesting plotting and a great central conceit, but it’s all used to miserable, potentially demeaning ends.
Project Almanac scored: ★★☆☆☆