“The Present” is a 2024 film written by Jay Martel and directed by Christian Ditter. It features a talented cast, including Isla Fisher as Jen, Greg Kinnear as Eric, Easton Rocket Sweda as Taylor, Shay Rudolph as Emma, Mason Shea Joyce as Max, and more.  The film revolves around siblings Taylor, Max, and Emma, who use an old family heirloom ( a clock) to travel back 12 hours in the past to stop their parents, Jen and Eric, from getting separated. 

The Present (2024) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis

“The Present” isn’t your average time travel film—it is a bit on the quirky, comedic side. The story centers on Taylor, a laid-back, nonchalant kid living with his siblings, Emma and Max, and their parents, Jen and Eric. On the surface, they seem like a typical family, but scratch that surface, and you’ll find a different story. They spend most of their time either arguing with each other or wishing they were alone. It’s no wonder Taylor often skips family dinners as they usually turn into ground zero for family drama and arguments.  At one such dinner, the parents reveal that they’re going to live separately for a while. 

Emma quickly labels it as a divorce, but the parents insist nothing’s final. Still, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see where this is headed, and it’s only a matter of time before Jen and Eric make it official. Taylor loves his parents and is heartbroken to learn they’re getting divorced. Feeling helpless, he can’t shake the frustration of not being able to change their minds. One day, while tinkering with his grandpa’s old clock, Taylor stumbles upon something strange. He learns that this clock can actually take him back in time! With this, Taylor hatches a plan to rekindle the lost love between his parents and maybe, just maybe, avoid the impending divorce.

How Does Emma Come to Know About the Time-Travelling Clock?

After discovering the time-traveling powers of the clock, Taylor charts a strategic plan to reunite his parents. Step one is to prevent Eric and Jen from dropping the separation news at the family dinner. Knowing he can’t pull this off solo, Taylor gets crafty and makes a fake emergency call to the theater where his sister, Emma, is performing, summoning her home under the guise of a false family emergency. Once she’s home, Taylor reveals that their parents plan to announce their separation at dinner.  Taylor also tells Emma that their grandfather’s old clock can turn back time up to 12 hours. He admits he’s already made 23 unsuccessful attempts to stop their parents from splitting, and every time, he’s hit a wall. 

This explains why Taylor was at the restaurant, where he slipped almonds into Richard’s drink to trigger an allergic reaction, disrupting Richard’s date with Jen. Taylor’s been fighting an uphill battle, but he’s not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Emma doesn’t buy a word, Taylor says at first. However, when her brother predicts what she’s about to say next, she starts to think he might be onto something. Despite her skepticism about love, thanks to her fallout with Jacob, Emma decides to help Taylor. After all, their parents were once madly in love, and maybe they can be in love again.  Even though Emma isn’t a die-hard believer in love being the best thing ever, she’s willing to give it a shot for their parents’ sake.

How Do Emma & Taylor Try to Reunite their Parents? 

A still from The Present (2024).
A still from “The Present” (2024).

Taylor and Emma hatch a plan to turn their dad, Eric, into a total stud no woman can ignore. Step one is to boost his self-confidence. Step two is to spruce him up with some sharp new clothes and a killer haircut. The siblings even go as far as stealing the flower shrubs from their parents’ therapist, holding them hostage to get the therapist on board. Desperate to save his precious plants, the therapist has no choice but to comply. He reluctantly agrees to do whatever it takes to stop Eric and Jen from splitting up, all while Taylor and Emma execute their makeover mission.

Emma and Taylor decide to crash Jen’s date with Richard and even rope in their friend Dylan to perform a heartfelt act in front of Jen at the mini-mart, hoping she’ll realize that splitting up isn’t the best idea. Emma is convinced this will work. But it backfires spectacularly, making things even worse. Not one to give up, Emma resets the clock once more. This time, they set the stage for their parents to get a bit intimate, hoping it will rekindle the old flame. Eric starts to think they’ve been too hasty with their decision to separate and considers giving their relationship another shot. Unfortunately, just as things seem to be turning around, he spots a text message from Richard on Jen’s phone, and his doubts come flooding back.

Next, Emma and Taylor go into full-on sabotage mode and totally vandalize the apartment Eric was planning to rent. With his potential new place trashed, Eric has no choice but to drop his plans of moving out—at least until he can find another spot. It works for a few hours. However, like clockwork, Eric and Jen end up fighting again. Frustrated but determined, Emma and Taylor hit the reset button on the timeline once more, hoping this next attempt will finally bring their parents back together.

The Present (2024) Movie Ending Explained:

Can Reliving the Past Rekindle Their Parents’ Love?

At this point, the siblings have pulled out all the stops to keep their parents from splitting up. They’ve vandalized an apartment, broken into a car, and even caused someone to have an allergic reaction—only to see their plans crash and burn each time. But the fails are the least of their worries now. The old clock is showing obvious signs of wear and tear, and it’s about to pack it in. Emma, Taylor, and Max are left with just one last shot to pull off the impossible and bring their parents back together before time runs out—literally.

Max, who is now fully in on the plan, tricks his mother into telling him everything about her first date with Eric. Jen’s magical evening started with a symphony concert, followed by a romantic stroll in the snow and sharing some delicious beignets. To recreate this unforgettable night, the siblings leave no stone unturned, and they set up a symphony playlist, park a beignet truck outside their house, and even sprinkle some artificial snow to mirror that dreamy, romantic night. It’s their last shot to remind Jen and Eric of those special moments and reignite their lost spark.

Can Honesty and Music Save the Day?

The siblings’ romantic revival plan seems to work like a charm at first. Jen and Eric decide that splitting up is a huge mistake. But, of course, the peace is short-lived. Before long, they’re back to their usual bickering, and the kids are far from ready to throw in the towel. They hit the reset button once again, throwing everything they’ve got at the problem. They steal the dinner table, snatch a car, fake cancer, and even try bribing their parents with an attache of millions of dollars.

Unfortunately, Max manages to break the clock and end their time-traveling shenanigans for good. No more resets, no more second chances. With the clock out of commission and only one last shot at keeping their parents together, the siblings go all in. They write and perform a song about a man and a woman who have everything—except each other—because they couldn’t figure out how to stay together.  Taylor, who’s been quiet for years, finally speaks and requests his parents to stick it out. Their kid’s gestures and lyrics of the song move Jen and Eric. They’re moved to tears and, in that moment, realize that splitting up isn’t worth it. Jen and Eric decide to give their marriage another chance. The siblings’ last-ditch effort brings them back together. At the same time, it also proves that sometimes, it takes a little extra magic to make love last.

Read More: 10 Best Time Travel Movies Ever Made

The Present (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
Cast of The Present (2024) Movie: Isla Fisher, Greg Kinnear, Easton Rocket Sweda, Shay Rudolph, Mason Shea Joyce
The Present (2024) Movie Release Date: June 18th, 2024 | Genre: Comedy/Fantasy/Drama/Romance/Sci-Fi | Runtime: 1h 26m
Where to watch The Present

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