Safety Not Guaranteed

SXSW 2012 film review

Safety Not Guaranteed

Director: Colin Trevorrow | Screenwriter: Derek Connolly
A trio of magazine employees investigate a classified ad seeking a partner for time travel.
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni

Film Synopsis (from SXSW.com)

WHO’S IT FOR? This is heavy on quality conversation with some science fiction elements sprinkled in.

OVERALL

Sometimes when you are trying to figure out whether you should see a film at a festival, it’s as easy as looking at the cast. I love Plaza’s April character from “Parks and Recreation.” I’m also a fan of Johnson from “The New Girl.” Throwing in Duplass means I’m totally on board. Luckily, these actors nail their roles and elevate this delicate movie to wonderful heights.

I say delicate because when you are talking about a time travel film, there are plenty of potholes. The main one is the ability to make you believe. Thankfully, the heart of Safety is in the right place. Lines like, “I don’t know, I’m not a freakin’ storm trooper,” help make sure you’ll laugh consistently too.

Darius (Plaza) is socially awkward, and still not sure how to get over her mother’s death. Jeff (Johnson) is clinging to the memory of his high school sweetheart. They both work at Seattle Magazine, and when Jeff encounters Kenneth’s (Duplass) want ad referring to time travel, it’s the perfect excuse to get out of town and see how crazy Kenneth is.

Every character brings heart to this film. That’s impressive because it all seems to distant to them in the beginning. Plaza once again nails playing a sarcastic, distant individual who you are somehow addicted to AND rooting for. Jeff luckily goes through some emotionally highs and lows and doesn’t remain a cocky ass. Kenneth might be the most impressive. After all, he believes in time travel. I’ve never seen Duplass perform better. You find yourself hoping that Kenneth actually might be on to something. Arnau (Soni) is so awkward and lovable he steals the show from all of these other great performances. Everything just clicks with this small film.

Safety Not Guaranteed is about dreaming of your past, not knowing how to move forward. Thankfully, when it’s over, you should leave feeling positive about the future.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

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