Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) Movie Review

Admittedly this is not a brand new film, but it is a movie I have been aiming to see since I first witnessed the trailer. I missed the showings at the one cinema near me which had this playing, but finally I have gotten round to seeing it. I’m damn glad I did.

The title takes its name from a mysterious newspaper ad lazy magazine journalist Jeff (Jake Johnson) finds and wants to write a story on. The advert claims to be looking for a partner to time travel with. Accompanying Jeff to find whoever posted the advert are Darius (a stand out turn from Aubrey Plaza), a beautiful yet socially introverted girl who seems lost and out of touch with the world she is living in, and Arnau (Karan Soni), a geek who has a problem with the ladies. It soon becomes clear Jeff has other plans, as he looks to hook up with an old flame in the area, leaving Darius to chase the story and find the supposed time traveler Kenneth (Mark Duplass).

Jake Johnson is as Jeff, as he manages to make him sympathetic and relatable despite the fact that he can be quite an arrogant jerk at times. Soni’s character arc is really a tertiary concern, as he looks for love in a world he struggles to fit in, but it is entertaining nonetheless. Plaza’s Darius and Duplass’ wannabe time traveler Kenneth, steal the show though, as two oddballs on a mission to find themselves. Kenneth may come across as rather creepy to begin with, but when he meets Darius the story really begins to flow well, as we see them preparing for the big launch. A warm, natural feeling friendship develops, which as viewers we are suspicious of but also rather enjoy.

Trying to define this film is impossible. At times it is laugh out loud hilarious, but there is the obvious science fiction element to the storyline. Romance is also key as it drives the story forward, often in unexpected ways, as well as the perhaps surprising, but nevertheless enjoyable, thriller elements intermingled in the plot with the constant threat of shady agents following Kenneth. Despite having so many moving parts and a quite obvious low budget, director Colin Treverrow does well to keep the story together. Some parts feel underdeveloped, but it barely matters, as if you let it, this film will absorb you in its strange, whimsical but thoroughly entertaining tale about finding yourself and your place in the world.

Verdict:

Definitely worth a watch, particularly if you are a fan of slightly wacky but heartwarming indie comedies.

8.25/10

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