Overlooked Film of the Week- #41
Safety Not Guaranteed
Time travel in movies is always cool, and always fills us with wonder. Will there ever come a day in our future where time travel is possible? Will a scientist come forth and be able to create a device that allows such an act? I love "Back To The Future" and "The Terminator" films, I laugh out loud at the "Family Guy" time travel episodes, and I love smaller, less sophisticated uses of the device, such as "Timecrimes." Even though time-travel has been stuck in the action genre, the possibilities with the idea are nearly limitless.
"Safety Not Guaranteed" is a film about time-travel, but its not your average film. The film focuses on Darius Britt (Aubrey Plaza) and her life interning at Seattle Magazine. Jeff (Jack Johnson) a writer of the magazine finds a classifieds ad in the newspaper, asking for someone to accompany another man to travel through time to the past, warning that there is great risk in the procedure. Jeff gets Darius and another intern Arnanu (Karan Soni) to investigate the man behind the ad and see what he is up to.
The trio goes to a suburb of Seattle and Darius poses as a person interested in the ad. This leads her to meet Kenneth (Mark Duplass) the man behind the ad. He claims that he has invented a time machine that works, and wants somebody to accompany him. At first, he is wary of Darius, but he softens up to him and begins "training" her before the big take-off. All the while she is doing this, she is reporting back to Jeff about her findings, and begins to feel badly about it. There are also government employees trying to get to Kenneth, which makes Darius believe, more and more that this is no hoax.
The work done by Plaza, Duplass and Johnson is all solid. They create something that is sweet, sincere and quite funny at times. Plaza and Duplass create a poetic and believable relationship over the course of the film and they are very funny together. Johnson is also very good, playing an asshole only concerned with nostalgia and career. The town that Kenneth lives in happens to be the town where Jeff grew up in. That is part of the reason why he wanted the gig so bad, so that he could go back and relive certain times in his life. This storyline kind of parallels Kenneth's need to go back in time. "Safety Not Guaranteed" is smart in its views of nostalgia and how quickly it can destroy us.
There are moments of sheer drama and there are moments of hilarious comedy and I think there is something here that everyone can enjoy.