Safety Not Guaranteed (12/12/12)

Safety Not GuaranteedMovie Two Hundred Seventy Eight

In Safety Not Guaranteed, three reports investigate a classified ad requesting help to go back in time.

Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is interning at a Seattle magazine and when one of the editors, Jeff (Jake Johnson), finds a strange ad asking for someone to travel back in time with him, he wants to write a story about guy that placed the ad. Darius and Jeff also take along Arnau (Karan Soni), another intern and head off to Ocean View in search for the purported time traveler. They discover that Kenneth Calloway (Mark Duplass) is behind the ad and Darius, bored with her life and hoping there’s a shred of truth to Kenneth’s claim, hopes to go back in time and prevent her mother’s death.

Safety Not Guaranteed is a movie I was expecting to enjoy but not be totally enamored with. Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass are kind of hit or miss with me, but I like Jake Johnson so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the cast, or the plot. It’s safe to say that Safety Not Guaranteed blew my expectations away and it impressed the hell out of me. It may even be one of the year’s better films.

Aubrey Plaza is not known for her dramatic acting, in fact, all of the actors are probably better known for comedic roles, but Plaza in particular impresses in Safety Not Guaranteed. There are plenty of funny moments in the film, but the story is actually more personal and touching than it lets on. The setup makes it seem like we are supposed to be pointing and laughing at Kenneth for being weird and believing he can actually travel through time – and I certainly won’t spoil anything – but we quickly stop making fun of Kenneth and he becomes a sympathetic character.

In the end, Safety Not Guaranteed is not about time travel, it’s about not living with regrets. All the characters have some moment of self-discovery that is infinitely more important to the story than whether or not Kenneth actually knows what he is doing regarding his time machine. Existentialism was not something I was expecting to find from a quirky indie dramedy, but damned if it doesn’t do it well. Safety Not Guaranteed surprised me and for that reason, I encourage everyone to see it for themselves, you may be surprised too.

I give it 4 Kenneth’s sweet Datsun out of 5.

*sorry if you got notified of this and then it disappeared, I scheduled it incorrectly*


Rotten Tomatoes


20 responses to “Safety Not Guaranteed (12/12/12)

  1. Good review Andy. Plaza is the main reason to see this movie and I really hope that she continues to get more and more choice roles that shows her off as more than just a quirky, deadpan gal with crazy eyes.

  2. watched it last night. it wasn’t what i was expecting, but i liked it a lot. i had kind of the same positive kind of vibe i had gotten when i watched “juno.” jack johnson did a great job getting me to dislike him. well, his character of course. and i loved the scene when he breaks into the laser place.

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  5. Hey Andy…yeah, me too. I was pretty surprised I liked this film as much as I did, especially since it had ‘indie darling’ all but a stamp of approval on the DVD jacket. I didn’t like it apparently as much as you did but I do agree folks have to see it for themselves and certainly they’ll find something to enjoy about this offbeat character film that goes a lot further than most of the genre by doing little more than relying on the happenstance of emotional relationships. Despite my disfavor of most of what Duplass did to get where he is now, he’s turned out to be the Greg Kinear of our times.

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