Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

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



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10 responses to “Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

  1. Excellent review. I really enjoyed watching the film.

  2. Actually sounds great. I’m usually put off by ‘quirky’ films

    • I know what you mean, but this isn’t quirky for the sake of being quirky which some films intentionally do. It’s more the idea is quirky so the filmakers just decide to run with it. The characters are really good as well which helps keep it a bit more grounded then it could have been. Definately worth a try.

  3. I really liked the bond between the two lead characters and the ending was refreshing. Good review.

    • Thanks. I liked the two leads too, their bond felt believeable and not overly cheesy. I’ve seen the actors in other roles before and they are normally very good.

  4. Had an interesting idea and did some cool things with it. But overall, felt like it could have gone just a bit further into its characters. Good review.

  5. Cool review Lauren, didn’t know Aubrey Plaza was in this, now I have more incentive to watch it as I love her in Parks and Recreation. But my main reason for wanting to see this film was the fact that the director is the same one that’s going on to do Jurassic World if I’m not mistaken and I wanted to check this out beforehand.

    • Aubrey Plaza is brilliant in this. I like her deadpan delivery of her lines, very funny. I had forgotten the director was doing Jarassic World next. Gives me some hope that it will be good based on this movie.

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