Expectations have not been high for Dean Israelite’s feature directorial debut, Project Almanac. The Michael Bay-produced, teen-centric, found footage time travel film, formerly titled Welcome to Yesterday, has been pushed back and delayed multiple times, ultimately dropped at the tail end of January, and beginning late last week there was even rapid scramble to excise a two-second clip from the movie and the promotional material—it featured footage of a real life plane crash, which incensed families of the casualties. The deck is certainly stacked against this one, but despite all of that, as well as being totally predictable, Project Almanac is actually a decent amount of fun.
From word one, you know precisely where this movie is going. It doesn’t break any new ground, not even remotely, but what makes Project Almanac endearing is the self-awareness and earnestness of the characters. These are pop culture obsessed kids who watch Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure as a kind of time travel research and take their cues about what is and isn’t possible from Looper. And at a structural level, the plot actually plays out like a simplified version of Primer.