Movie Review: Safety Not Guaranteed

imageA fun and enjoyable ride all the way through, Safety Not Guaranteed carries us through a rare journey that dares you to let go of logic and believe the impossible. These quirky characters are able to pull off a story that dances around mystery, insanity, science, fiction, friendship, hope, love, and blind faith.

A staff writer at a Seattle-based magazine looking for a story, along with two interns, are intrigued by a classified ad from a man seeking help to travel back in time with him. They are baffled that someone would post such an odd request and want to find out if this guy is serious. The trio of writers decide to take a trip to the rural town where he is from. They begin to investigate him; first, from a distance and then, by befriending him. The more they learn about him, the more they realize this guy is serious — he really is hatching a plan to travel back in time.

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In Colin Trevorrow’s feature-length debut he achieves a level of emotion most other directors aspire to reach. By the end of this movie you will be jumping, cheering, and rooting for these characters. You will give up sound judgement with a smile and take a leap of blind faith along with Darius (Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation) the intern that befriends Kenneth (Mark Duplass, The League), the self-proclaimed time traveler.

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The staff writer, Jeff (Jake Johnson, New Girl), along with the interns Darius and Arnau (Karan Soni), work together to try and figure out who this guy really thinks he is. They study him from afar and then take turns befriending him by acting as if they are responding to the ad. These four characters have such unique and quirky personalities and it is fun to watch them interact with each other. Every time the trio of writers learn more about Kenneth through Darius, as she earns his trust under a false pretense, they continue to become even more baffled. How can this man who works at a supermarket really believe he can travel through time?

As wild as his imagination is, however, Kenneth does have a sincere purpose to go back in time. Lost love fuels his strong desire and motivation. As Darius learns this she begins to feel torn between her colleagues and this man who can’t let go of his past. She knows realistically that this man cannot travel through time, but she wants so badly for him to be able to fix what had happened. She begins to feed into his hopeless dream and continue the part of the time traveling sidekick.

As we watch Darius and Kenneth forming an odd yet delightful friendship we also see Jeff and Arnau’s side adventures. Jeff is also seeking a lost love. An ex-girlfriend of his lives in the same area which was an extra motivator for him to take on this story. Arnau is the type of character where you can assume has never had a girlfriend and is just way to shy to confront girls. Jeff provides the confidence he needs to approach a girl by slightly altering his appearance and giving him the mindset that he is a guy who “crushes chicks.” Although both of these stories are entertaining, the story of whether Kenneth can actually travel through time is much more interesting and you can’t wait to get back to that story.

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The balance of intrigue, logic, fantasy, love, hope, doubt, despair, paranoia, and belief are mixed together so well by the writer, Derek Connolly, and director Colin Trevorrow. It is actually hard to believe that between the both of them this is their first stab at a feature-length film. This is the feel good movie of the year, hands down. Each character is charming and funny in their own way. All the wonder and doubt and debate that goes on has a big payoff. I really can’t remember the last time a movie left me in such a happy mood. =)

Bonus Trivia: What makes this even more interesting is that this movie is based on an actual ad that said the same thing. It appeared in Backwoods Home Magazine in 1997. Jay Leno featured this ad on his “Headlines” segment of The Tonight Show. I actually remember seeing that episode and cracking up hysterically! When I saw the trailer for this movie I made sure to go see it and I’m really glad I did!

Follow the Cast and Crew:

Darius played by Aubrey Plaza:

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Twitter: @EvilHag

Kenneth played by Mark Duplass:

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Twitter: @MarkDuplass

Jeff played by Jake Johnson:

Jake Johnson Twitter

Twitter: @MarkJakeJohnson

Director Colin Trevorrow:

Colin Trevorrow Twitter

Twitter: @ColinTrevorrow (unverified)

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy =)

@Darryl_Brian

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2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Safety Not Guaranteed

    • Ha! It must have been fun developing the character of Kenneth. I can just imagine the writer, director, and actor batting around ideas for what type of person the author of the ad would be! Lol.

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