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Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed

Released 28 December 2012
Director Colin Trevorrow
Starring




Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson, Mark Duplass, Karan Soni, Basil Harris, Mary Lynn Rajskub, David Schultz, Jeff Garlin, Kristen Bell
Writer(s) Derek Connolly
Producer(s)

Derek Connolly, Peter Saraf, Colin Trevorrow, Marc Turtletaub
Origin United States
Running Time 86 minutes
Genre Comedy, romance, sci-fi
Rating TBC
88

Enjoyment guaranteed.

"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."

When Seattle magazine journalist Jeff proposes to run an investigative piece on the above classified newspaper ad he stumbles upon, he gets the go ahead from his editor and takes two interns on the “road trip” with him to the seaside community of Ocean View. Jeff has no intention of seriously following up the story, believing the author of the ad to be just another weirdo and simply wants to rekindle an old flame from his high school years. But Darius, a loner college graduate who has never recovered from the death of her mother, decides to befriend the subject Kenneth undercover. Convinced the government are after him, Kenneth struggles to accept Darius as a potential sidekick in his mission to go back to 2001 and prevent the death of his first love. They soon form a sweet connection, though, as Darius' mind is opened up to the possibility that he might actually be telling the truth.

Indie films like this, and especially ones that strive to deal with the proven tricky genre of time travel, are frequently let down by a clichéd script and a below average cast. Both departments excel in this charming, funny and insightful comedy-drama. Time travel is the goal, but the overriding theme is that of loneliness and how difficult an emotion it can be to deal with. The relationship built up by Kenneth and Darius is proof that connections can be created under the most unlikeliest of situations. There is a believable balance between absurdity and moments of reflection that is aided by heartfelt acting in a project that was probably a hell of a lot of fun making.

Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass strike a touching chord with each other but it is Jake Johnson's portrayal of Jeff, going through a midlife crisis of sorts, that steals the show. It's all very New Girl but, just like his character in the TV Series, he manages to be stupid but sentimental at the same time. One of the most annoying aspects of the movie is that it doesn't really wrap up Jeff's interesting sub-plot. At just under ninety minutes in length, there is never a moment when you feel that there is a wasted scene or that the story is not moving along at a frenetic pace. And the ending – well, the ending is simply perfect.

I very highly doubt that Safety Not Guaranteed will turn into a mega box-office success but it will certainly acquire a cult following. If you get the chance to go and see it, do.

- David Caulfield