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Bad Movies

Bad Movie of the Week: 12:01

Welcome to the Bad Movie of the Week. [See the Archive.] If I could go back in time to repeat a day over again, I would use this power to not watch:

12:01 (1993)


Plot: This made-for-TV movie appeared about five months after Groundhog Day and shares the same basic premise (Hmm…). Barry Thomas is a smart-alec office worker in an Office Space-style job whose already bad day is ruined when the woman he has a crush on but has never had the courage to talk to, Lisa Fredericks, is gunned down in front of his eyes. Depressed and drunk at 12:01 that night, he’s shocked by an exposed wire during a lightning storm and wakes to find himself reliving the previous day all over again. Once he realizes what’s happening, Barry tries to relive the day better and prevent Lisa’s death, but keeps failing and repeating the same 24-hour period. As he gradually uncovers the motive for the murder and the explanation behind the ‘time bubble’ he’s experiencing, Barry also learns how to stand up to his boss and express his true feelings for Lisa.

Read on for the final rating:

Best quote: Barry (to Lisa): “You’re not killed today! That’s great news!” Haha, but seriously, folks, there weren’t any good quotes. Everything anyone said in this movie was annoying.


Most implausible moment: The whole world is caught in a time bounce, but Barry Thomas isn’t because he electrocuted himself at the exact moment the evil science device malfunctioned. Okay; I can accept that; it’s just a movie. But you did not stop there, 12:01. No, you had to have Barry explain it to Lisa, a scientist, who then accepts this as the most logical thing in the world. “An electric shock — of course! That would stop the Time Bounce from affecting you!” GRRR…

‘Gratuitous Hotness’ bonus: 0 (out of 1 possible). Nothing.

‘Gratuitous Violence’ bonus: 0 (out of 1 possible). Nada. Martin Landau (below) does get vaporized at the end, but c’mon, vaporization was so last century.


Final score: 5 (6 is worst). 12:01 definitely went for comedy over suspense, and it’s a good thing, because if Barry fails or even dies, he just repeats the day again. Therefore, the only tension is generated because the viewer knows that each Time Bounce means the movie isn’t over yet: “OH NO! He died again! . . . That means this is going to go on for at least another 15 minutes!” Oh, and the comedy is crap too. Jonathan Silverman is insufferable as Barry Thomas and Helen Slater is bland as Lisa Fredericks; you have to dig into the supporting cast to find marginally bearable performances. Imagine Office Space plus Back to the Future, but snarkier, and minus all the good parts of Office Space and Back to the Future. I wanted to like this movie, I really did, but it ruthlessly crushed my hopes until I had to concur with Will: If either of us gets trapped in a Time Bounce that takes us back to the day we watched this movie, we’ll use it to not watch it.



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