The first clue comes along pretty quickly. Justin Timberlake, star and occasional narrator, lays out the basics of the future world he inhabits. Turns out that it kind of sucks. The tiny rich minority of people live in walled-off communities and hoard all the wealth while controlling the existence of the have-nots, raising the cost of living, blowing up interest rates on loans the poor must take out in order to live and grinding workers into dust to keep up productivity. In other words, it's the United States at this very moment in history.
But the wealth here isn't money. It's time. In this future parallel dystopia, everyone is genetically engineered to look and feel as healthy as the average 25-year-old. But at age 25, the digital time code on your forearm starts counting down your final 12 months. When your clock runs down to zero you die, unless you can work for/borrow/steal enough time to keep going. The rich can live to be as old as they like, spending their time on anything they please. The poor live, literally, day to day. The short version of what transpires next is that Timberlake hooks up with the daughter (Amanda Seyfried) of a hugely wealthy and corrupt financial overlord and together they go rob time-banks, fighting class warfare with their own, cooler, class warfare. They're sexy, gun-toting, populist-socialist criminals in a really awesome car that might as well have a personalized plate that reads: EATTHERICH.
So back to that first clue. Within the first couple of lines of the script, JT declares, regarding his own unwinnable situation: "It is what it is."
That's right, "it is what it is," the empty non-wisdom of every single person who's ever appeared on camera in an episode of Big Brother or The Real Housewives of New Jersey. You know that when you meet somebody who uses that expression that you're also going to be treated to even sillier, even more brain-flattening dialogue exchanges if you stick around long enough.
And thankfully, this movie isn't stingy about serving that up. In fact, almost every scene of this Logan's Run-meets-Robin Hood-meets-Bonnie & Clyde-meets-Occupy Wall Street allegory features some kind of play on colloquial expressions about money, wealth or time. It's like if you gave a film budget to a bunch of eighth graders and said, "Go wild and make sure you remind everybody who's watching what the movie is about. Do that over and over and over and really make your point."
It's Marxist theory and righteous anger and bad acting and tight outfits and goofy wigs and social Darwinism and retro-futuristic rides and a critique of Hollywood's ageist casting even as it participates in that same age-ism. It's smart and dumb and exasperating and entertaining, all in equal amounts. It's also from 20th Century Fox. And Fox News will hate it. Isn't Hollywood great?