Blimey, the paradoxical charm of time travel movies—where the hero, usually armed with a futuristic gadget and unfathomable wisdom from the years to come, tries to save us mere mortals from our foolish ways. But, of course, things don’t always go according to plan, do they?
Cue “Relax, I’m from the Future,” a Canadian gem of a sci-fi comedy that manages to tickle both your brain and your funny bone. The film stars Rhys Darby as Casper, our intrepid time traveler from a gloomy future that’s apparently been taking life advice from dystopian novels. Intent on preventing a “major future catastrophe,” he lands in the most unimaginable battlefield of complexities—the 2020s.
You’d think that a time traveler would bring along tools like a futuristic robot or a ray gun. Nope, Casper opts for giving away knowledge of the future so people can make quick money. It’s as if someone whispered in his ear, “The best way to a human’s heart is through their wallet.” And so, he befriends Holly, portrayed by Gabrielle Graham. Holly is a local woman who becomes the Robin to his Batman, or maybe the Watson to his Sherlock, if Holmes dealt in stock tips and sports betting.
It’s all fun and games until Casper and Holly realize that their actions have not only made them richer but also “wealthy” in unintended consequences. The future they were trying to save? Yeah, they just gave it a makeover, and let’s just say it’s not ready for the runway. Enter Doris, another time traveler, who basically has one job: to stop people like Casper and Holly from turning the time-space continuum into their personal playground. Played by Janine Theriault, Doris is the cosmic hall monitor, ensuring the timeline doesn’t get more twisted than a pretzel. It’s a tale as old as—well, time.
Adding a touch of existential dread is Julian Richings as Percy, a man about to commit suicide until he’s interrupted by the news that he’s dying in the wrong place and time. It’s the kind of plot twist that makes you ponder the rules of fate, destiny, and whether anyone ever really knows what they’re doing, time traveler or not.
The film is an expansion of director Luke Higginson’s short film from 2015, keeping the DNA but adding more meat to the bones, sort of like a velociraptor turning into a T-Rex. It’s like the filmmakers asked themselves, “What would happen if ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ had a Canadian baby?” And voila, “Relax, I’m from the Future” was born. Filmed in the picturesque city of Hamilton, Ontario—because where else would you film a Canadian sci-fi comedy?—the movie has already garnered a bronze medal in the Best Canadian Film competition at Fantasia Film Festival. It’s set for a commercial release in 2023, giving us ample time to brace ourselves for laughs that are, dare we say, timeless.