Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere
Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Written by: Derek Connolly
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 26 min
What starts out as an interesting research trip for a magazine story, turns into a heart-felt study of love and regret. The catalyst of this story being an intriguing newspaper ad looking for someone willing to go back in time.
In Safety Not Guaranteed, a lowly under-appreciated intern called Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is taken on the story research trip, and immediately makes a connection with our would be time traveler Kenneth (Mark Duplass). Both characters fall just outside what most might consider the mainstream (whatever that is), so their connection makes a lot of sense, and as they get to know each other, Darius’s focus shifts away from the article and becomes more about her new friend.
As the plot develops, it splinters into two separate stories, the second being about Darius’s boss Jeff (Jake Johnson) looking to rediscover an old girlfriend. The larger point to all this though isn’t about whether Kenneth can actually travel through time, but rather a journey to explore the past metaphorically as each character scrutinizes moments in their lives they’d like to change.
Ordinarily, being a science fiction nut, dangling a juicy time travel premise like this without delivering on the goods would irritate the heck out of me. But I found Safety Not Guaranteed very watchable and the performances and characters are very likeable. The film also doesn’t mess about trying to be overly artsy and get lost in a pretentious metaphoric hell. At 86 minutes long it doesn’t have time too, but I can assure you the limited extent to which your rear is parked watching this is well worth it, as this story is thoroughly developed.
Don’t go into this expecting any kind of time travel plot, as this film studies the past mostly metaphorically – mosty. *wink*. It moves along at a decent pace, and you should find the mystery surrounding Kenneth’s time travel plans interesting enough.
This isn’t an overly visual experience, and would be watchable on any device you care to view it on.
I really liked Derek Connolly’s script for Safety Not Guaranteed. Really sharp and witty, loaded with great dialog and characters.