The Music Box Effect
When Anna (Brooke Burns - Christmas Connection) is too busy overseeing a house renovation she thinks nothing of her husband and daughter heading off to buy the snacks she was suppose to get, but when they die in a road accident she blames herself. 6 months after their death and Anna is still struggling with the loss but she learns that she has inherited an old house from an Aunt she never knew existed and so throws herself into cleaning it up. It is whilst cleaning this old house that she finds hidden away an old music box which she discovers has strange powers of changing the past and therefore the present.
So "Time and Again", which is also known as "Cheating Fate", has a bit of "The Butterfly Effect" going on with a time travel storyline and the way by changing the past you can alter the present. And it's not just in its concept as it also has a similarity in its basic structure. When things open we meet Anna being interviewed by police over her taking her daughter and threatening her husband but then it jumps back to an earlier time, 6 months prior. And at that point there is an accident which due to Anna being a workaholic leads to her husband and daughter dying, confused? You are meant to be. And to be honest you stay confused for a little bit longer as we watch Anna struggle to come to terms with her loss whilst also inheriting an old house from an Aunt she never knew existed.
In a way this opening whilst intentionally setting up the confusion over whether her husband and daughter are dead or alive also sets up the mystery as to why Anna has never heard of her Aunt, something which becomes clear as the story unfolds. But the most important thing is that she discovers this old music box, an innocent enough object which she thinks is both old and beautiful. But then all these strange things begin to happen, she starts hearing her husband's voice and seeing her daughter, people visit her at the old house then disappear and those who don't disappear have no recollection of visiting her. To put it simply "Time and Again" continues to deliver this web of confusion as to what is going on and what is so significant about the music box.
Now whilst "Time and Again" is seriously riddled with plot holes the fact that the music box has this strange ability to create a new now and change the past makes for an interesting idea, the fact that you have no control over what it will change is not so good. But it does allow for some interesting scenes such as Anna one minute in a now where her husband and daughter are still alive, the next they are dead; one minute she is a loving wife the next she is having an affair. It not so much keeps you on your toes but makes you wonder how it will all end, will she get back to normality, will she have to settle on what is closest to normality and how comes when we first met her she was being interviewed by police for kidnapping her daughter. But it does overcrowd things with subplots from children mysteriously disappearing and the handyman who creepily keeps on showing up and sounds far too much like Forrest Gump.
One of the problems with "Time and Again" is that it is for all purposes a one woman show and whilst there are other characters from the Gumpish Billy through to the overly nice Mrs. Walkin pretty much everything revolves around the character of Anna. Now Brooke Burns does a solid job of playing Anna, delivering the sense of confusion when life stops making sense although the sense of panic never really materializes but she needed at least one strong character to help her out. Because of this it starts becoming samey, a bit repetitive as she goes from one confused state to another and the need for that strong character to interrupt the cycle screams out.
What this all boils down to it that for a TV movie "Time and Again" is pretty alright. It is full of issues and plot holes but has a good idea which it makes the most of and whilst Brooke Burns does a solid job the need for another strong character to stop it from becoming repetitive is a major issue.