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It lacks a certain grace in execution, but this SF/romantic comedy-thriller, directed by Nicholas Meyer from his own novel, is clever and well calculated. Malcolm McDowell is H.G. Wells, pursuing Jack the Ripper (David Warner) into 1979 San Francisco, via his time machine. The plot gimmick occasions some funny and warming scenes, particularly when Wells falls in love with a comely, wigged-out California lady (Mary Steenburgen). It isn't the writer's picture that the credits might suggest—much of its charm is a product of Steenburgen and McDowell's unlikely chemistry, British deliberation joined with fresh west coast naivete.

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