Movie Review: Safety Not Guaranteed

IMDB, Safety Not Guaranteed“Safety Not Guaranteed” on IMDB

Comedy/Drama/Romance, 86 Minutes, 2012

When you’re planning a trip to the past you need to be prepared. You need to make sure that your equipment is at peak condition. You need to make sure that you’re well supplied. You also need to have a partner.

Finding the right person can be difficult. You need somebody you can trust, but you’re on a shoestring budget. You need a frank, no-nonsense classified ad! If that guy down the street can find somebody to buy his vintage mayonnaise jar collection, surely you can find somebody to assist in tearing a hole through the space-time-continuum.

When Kenneth (Mark Duplass [IMDB]) places such an ad it attracts the attention of a fluff magazine in need of a puff-piece. So they send a reporter and his interns down to spend a few nights in a motel room and track him down. Intern Darius (Aubrey Plaza [IMDB]), deemed the least suspicious, poses as an interested applicant to see just how crazy this guy is. She soon finds depths to Kenneth that nobody ever expected.

Duplass is excellent as the vulnerable, possibly-schizophrenic would-be time lord.  Plaza, as always, is instantly likable and, as always, plays herself. Having never seen her play anybody other than herself, it’s impossible to confirm that she has very little range, but I must admit a suspicion. Still, she plays herself better than anybody else and that’s exactly what this role required.

The script is smart and keeps the truth close. Kenneth is sure of his mission, but of nothing else. Darius becomes sure of her feelings, but of nothing else. The lack of broad, loud declarations allows the audience to foster their own predictions until the last absolute moment, and even then there’s definitely room for interpretation.

It’s a sweet, quirky movie built on the awkward, but believable, chemistry between Plaza and Duplass. Smart and clever, it’s definitely worth spending a date night on.

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