Sunday, 3 February 2013

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

A film based off a gag advert that only appeared to fill space in a magazine back in 1997. That ad on the poster? It was actually in a paper, and they made a movie about it.

See, now I know that sounds a bit shit, to extrapolate a movie out of 5 lines of text in a 15 year old newspaper, but it's really not.

This isn't a sci-fi or time travel film really. The premise is that Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and another intern working at a magazine are taken on an assignment by  staff writer Jeff (Jake Johnson [Nick off of New Girl]) after he saw the ad in the paper. Their task is to find out just what kind of crazy this guy is and hopefully get an interesting article out of it. The trio set off to a seaside town and eventually track down Kenneth (Mark Duplass), who took out the ad. As they investigate, Darius becomes quite involved with Kenneth and his reasons for wanting to go back in time, and they start to doubt the extent of his insanity.

Make no mistake, Safety Not Guaranteed is your standard quirky comedy drama. It's a miracle that, with Jake Johnson already there, that Zooey Deschanel didn't come in and ruin the part of Darius, seeing as she's the postergirl for quirky indie-style films. Aubrey Plaza was a much better choice; she's got a subtle edge to her that makes Darius endearingly sweet while still capable of harsh wit. The sweetness works well in the developing relationship between her and the would-be time traveller and the wit bounces off Johnson's jaded older writer to create a hilarious back and forth dynamic between the two.

There's nothing incredibly deep about Safety Not Guaranteed, but it's a heartfelt comedy/drama with buckets of charm and great dialogue. I'd like to be able to say I didn't like how the ending went, if I'd written it the last five minutes would play out very differently, but I can't argue with the massive grin that I had spread across my face as the credits started to roll. If comparisons are worth anything, it's very similar to Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

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