Movie Review: Safety Not Guaranteed

It all started with a brainstorming session.

Seattle Magazine needed a story idea, so Jeff (Jake M. Johnson) offhandedly mentions a classified asking for someone to go back in time.

He and two interns decide to find that man and tell his story: Is he crazy (count the times that adjective is given; it’s more than Carly Rae Jepsen)? Has he actually created a time machine?

What ensues is some solid acting, particularly by Mark Duplass, who plays Kenneth. He tiptoes the line of a man either too delusional or indeed in possession of time travel capabilities.

If you’re a fan of either “Parks and Recreation” and “New Girl” (or both like me), you’ll appreciate the performances from both Aubrey Plaza, who plays Darius, the intern who connects with Kenneth, and Johnson.

The former provides a very honest, loving and broken character. Plaza is very far removed from the one she plays on the popular NBC comedy. The latter brings some great comedic sequences, while also proving to be humane after a rather pigheaded start.

But in the end, it’s about the storytelling in this Sundance charmer. This isn’t a movie with special effects (well, not really…), but rather about characters wanting more from life and hoping to change regrets from the past.

Nothing a bit of time travel can’t cure.

Take it back! moment: An awkward segment in which the plot reaches potential creepy ground before steering back to heart-warming. For the sake of spoilery, I will not give it away.

Fun tidbit: In one scene, Liz (Jenica Bergere) explains to Jeff that she was once married. Her husband was a baseball player, but when he was traded to the Marlins, he couldn’t get enough of the Miami girls. Naturally, this comment received quite the reaction from the audience.

Verdict: See it!

“Safety Not Guaranteed” begins showing at Sunset Place this Friday. It is still in a limited release.

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