There’s probably not many films that claim to be based on a magazine ad but that is indeed what inspired this quirky indie movie. Safety Not Guaranteed won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film festival. But will I be as easily impressed?
Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is a dissatisfied college graduate interning at Seattle Magazine. That changes when one of the writer’s at the magazine Jeff (Jake Johnson) finds a classified ad that reads: “Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.” As Darius joins the team to investigate the mysterious writer she gets a lot more than she bargains for.
Part comedy, part odd romance, Safety Not Guaranteed is certainly different and in a good way. As we follow Darius and her team as they investigate the writer of the ad Kenneth (Mark Duplass), we too are interested in learning more about this man. Is he crazy? Is he lying? Or can he really time travel? To find out more by working undercover as a potential time travel companion Darius and Kenneth bond and talk about pass loss and disappointments. Their growing connection is touching and you really start to care for these characters even though there’s a suspicion that Kenneth may have darker motives at play. As the movie continues on you end up caring more about whether they get together than if Kenneth can really time travel, although luckily we do get answers at the end of this film as if it would have been really annoying to leave things open-ended.
A lot of the comedy comes from the tasks and escapades that Kenneth puts Darius through to see if she is worthy of travelling back in time. Her colleagues Jeff and Arnau (Karan Sori) also provide plenty of laughs and also nice character moments as they also learn a few things about themselves during the trip.
It may not be right for everyone, it’s more focused on characters and smart dialogue then with lots of action and actual time travel, but I thought it was a great movie and I hope more people get round to watching it.
Rating 4/5 – if you’re looking for a smart and heartfelt comedy with a difference this could be the right movie for you