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Dan's Review: Safety Not Guaranteed

Bring your own weapons, people.
Safety Not Guaranteed (Film District)

Rated R for language including some sexual references.

Starring Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Mark Duplass, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jenica Bergere, Kristen Bell.

Written by Derek Connolly.

Directed by Colin Trevorrow.

GRADE: B+

REVIEW:


Time travel may be as much a pipe dream as true happiness for some, but for others both concepts are quite attainable. That's the idea behind Safety Not Guaranteed, the story of a young journalist who meets up with a man bent on building a time machine in order to "right" a "wrong" in his past.

Aubrey Plaza plays Darius, an melancholy intern for a Seattle lifestyle magazine on assignment with Jeff (Jake Johnson) to seek out the man who posted a personal advertisement that says:

"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."


Joining Darius and Jeff is Arnau (Karan Soni), an Indian and fellow intern as they travel to a remote coastal Oregon town to stake out the P.O. box listed in the ad.

When P.O. box owner named Kenneth (Mark Duplass) shows up, Darius strikes up a relationship with him and agrees to be his time travel partner. While Jeff considers the "time traveler" a loon, Darius finds a real friend and begins to grow closer to Kenneth. Thinking the time travel story beneath his journalistic talents, Jeff spends time looking up an old high school flame named Liz (Jenica Bergere).

As Darius and Kenneth plot and train for their time travel mission, Darius begins to be conflicted over the good feelings she has when she's with Kenneth and the reality that he might be nuts. As the date for their mission draws near, the tension between Darius, Kenneth and others increases until a rather incredible and surprising ending.

The premise of Safety Not Guaranteed is based on a very real advertisement placed in an outdoor magazine back in the late 90s. The actual Kenneth even makes a cameo appearance.

Safety Not Guaranteed is a bright, funny and absurd comedy with a breakout performance from Plaza. Duplass, Johnson and Soni are equally satisfying in their roles.

The clever, sweet and sharp script is the real power behind Safety Not Guaranteed, along with the ending that does not sell out to convention.


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