‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ Review

Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass in Safety Not GuaranteedTitle: Safety Not Guaranteed
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Derek Connolly
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson and Karan Soni
Rating: R
Length: 86 mins
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Safety Not Guaranteed stars Aubrey Plaza as Darius, a young magazine employee who has had a rough life so far. Along with two other employees, she set out to write a story about a man who placed a classified ad that reads, “WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed.” Darius tracks down the man, Kenneth, and becomes his partner. He doesn’t know that she works for a magazine. While the two other magazine workers drift away from the story, Darius grows closer to Kenneth and starts to wonder if he isn’t crazy after all.

Safety Not Guaranteed contains possibly the most likable character of the year, Kenneth played by Mark Duplass. Immediately, we are drawn to him. He seems like a person who is extremely kind, but still doesn’t have any friends. He is misunderstood. Mark Duplass perfectly conveys all of the emotions that his character is feeling.

Darius, played by Aubrey Plaza, is also a very likable character. By being provided with a little backstory of her character, we can begin to understand why she is the way she is. In one touching scene, Darius opens up to Kenneth, telling him something that she hasn’t even told her partners on the story. This shows us that she looks at Kenneth as friend and as someone she can trust, rather than just the subject of an article.

The other two magazine writers who are “working” on the story, Arnau (Karan Soni) and Jeff (Jake Johnson), are very different people. Arnau is a friendly young man who is very awkward with women. Jeff, on the other hand, is presented as a jerk who only wants to hook up with his high school sweetheart. The sub-plot of these two characters doesn’t distract from the main plot, but rather promotes the main idea that all people are different, and we should accept that. In one scene, Arnau explains to Jeff that “he is not him”. It is just as interesting to watch these two characters evolve and in a way come-of-age, as it is to watch the main story of Darius and Kenneth.

The movie is brilliantly written and full of deep and often humorous dialogue. This is screenwriter Derek Connolly’s first full-length feature film, and he has already created such memorable characters and scenes that I am very excited to see what else will come from him.

This is also the first film of director Colin Trevorrow. He seamlessly maneuvers from sci-fi to comedy to drama scene by scene. The movie is also beautifully shot, especially the spectacular finale. Safety Not Guaranteed is very similar to another movie that I absolutely loved, Another Earth. If you enjoyed that, I am 100% positive that you will enjoy this.

Safety Not Guaranteed is not your typical romantic comedy and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a feel-good movie that doesn’t throw feel-good material in your face. I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about this movie. It is one of my favorites of 2012 so far.

 ★★★★ 


*Review written by Bobby Guerrieri

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