Saturday, June 23, 2012

Movie Review: "Safety Not Guaranteed"

This was a terrific little movie.

Jeff (Jake M. Johnson from New Girl), a magazine reporter, heads out in search of the man who placed a classified ad reading, "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." (The ad was actually placed in real life by a man in the Seattle area.)

He brings with him two interns, melancholy misfit Darius (a luminous Aubrey Plaza, from Parks and Recreation) and shy, awkward Arnau (Karan Soni), and when his initial contact with Kenneth Callaway (Mark Duplass, star of the movie I saw last week, Your Sister's Sister) fails, he dispatches Darius to find out his story. Expecting to find someone completely unstable, Darius instead finds someone who truly believes he has the ability to time travel, and she finds herself beginning to share that belief, and perhaps go back in time to make one change in her life. As Jeff comes to realizations about his own life, and tries nudging Arnau toward breaking out of his shell, Darius is torn between falling for Kenneth and needing to understand the truth behind his story. But the truth isn't easy to handle, nor is it easy to determine just what the truth is.

This movie is both funny and bittersweet, in large part because of the appeal of Plaza and Duplass. Much like Darius, you're not sure exactly what to believe, but you find yourself rooting for their "mission" to succeed. The idea of traveling back in time to right a wrong or make a change is appealing, so you can understand how enmeshed Darius becomes. I really, really loved this movie.

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