Director, Colin Trevorrow
Starring, Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass & Jake Johnson
Synopsis: Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.
Safety Not Guaranteed is a very unique film. It’s an indie, sci-fi, comedy & romance film all bundled into one tidy little package and it works remarkably well.
Taking its inspiration from an advert published in 1997 in a copy of Backwoods Home Magazine, which read: Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.
The original ad was placed in the back of the magazine as filler, never realizing what a stir it may cause.
Three of the four main characters work for Seattle Magazine. Darius, Jeff & Arnau, all completely different and all with different reasons for being there. It is however, Aubrey Plaza as Darius who I tended to feel the most sympathetic toward, being completely down to earth yet feeling completely dissociated from everyone around her until she meets Kenneth played by Mark Duplass.
Kenneth is the author of the ad and it’s up to Darius to determine whether he is mad or an exceptional genius who has actually found a way to travel back in time. Thinking he is being tracked by government agents & telling a story of wanting to go back in time to 2001 to save his then girlfriend from being killed, which may or may not be true. Is he paranoid & delusional or has he actually managed to defy everything and build a time machine?
Of course Jeff & Arnau have their moments to shine. Given their fairly brief amount of screen time compared to Darius and Kenneth, they do very well with the moments handed to them.
As I said at the start of my review, Safety Not Guaranteed is a truly unique film. Blending many elements into one satisfying whole. It really shouldn’t work, yet it does. As for the ending, you’ll have to see for yourself whether Kenneth succeeds in his plan. I won’t ruin it for you by saying what happens, but I will say it’s just a perfect ending.