Safety Not Guaranteed
What would you go back for?
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.
Have you ever completely fallen for a film? For no other reason than that it provided you with a perfect bubble of escapism wrapped in a blanket of charm and warmth?
This is what this film is to me and I hadn't expected it at all.
From the opening monologue I feared the worst. A twentysomething girl rattling existentialist quips at double speed while looking bored with life and the universe. I feared the dreaded 'indy quirk' that I just can't stand. And while this film is definitely quirky, it is not what it is about. It's about life, regret, the past, the future, love and, yes, time travel.
In this gem of…
There is a moment in Safety Not Guaranteed where Aubrey Plaza's quirky character asks Mark Duplass' even quirkier character, "Is that a guitar?" while sitting in front of a campfire after a romantic day of mutual quirkiness. Jaw agape, knowing exactly what was about to happen, I had to pause the movie and consider whether everything up to this point had been trying to make some kind of ironic statement about the romcom genre. Sadly, by the end, I realized it was meant as a genuine moment.
Safety Not Guaranteed deserves the tiniest bit of credit for trying to shoehorn some superficially sci-fi elements into an otherwise mind-numbingly cookie-cutter romcom plot, and there were moments of promise in the subplot…
The perfect example of the indie calling-card movie: Looks great, quirky as hell, totally useless. Aubrey Plaza does what she can, but there's just no weight to any of these "time travel" shenanigans at all, even as metaphor. I really hope digital filmmaking gets cheap enough to where aspiring Hollywood directors can sends movies like this straight to studio executives. It feels like the audience is witnessing a transaction.
I watch a ton of bad indie comedies so that occasionally I'll stumble upon little gems like Safety Not Guaranteed. I love the philosophy and science behind time travel. I also love what the ability to time travel tends to reveal about characters, as well as how it fundamentally changes their views on life. The human drama in Safety Not Guaranteed is realistic and poignant, with a few flashes of silly humor and tired clichés. However, the negatives are barely noticeable under the shiny outlook on life this film reveals and the almost unbearably likable characters. I had a smile plastered on my face for the entire runtime and found myself wanting to watch it all again right away.
A second watch of Safety Not Guaranteed confirmed that I'll love it forever. It's overflowing with delightful characters, genuine emotion, cuteness, and optimism. It's really refreshing to see a film perfectly balance sarcasm and sincerity.
My first review pretty much covered how I feel about it, but I should reiterate some points:
Mark Duplass. Even as a crazy person he still manages to be the most charming and lovable thing ever.
Jake Johnson. The movie could've just been him yelling at dumb shit for an hour and a half and I think I would've loved it more than I already do.
A slight car chase, but more of a sneaky car following scenario scene;
Jeff: "This is fucking intense!"
Darius: "We're going 15 mph."
This scene was hysterical. I don't even know why! But, we have Darius (Aubrey Plaza) a young intern whom decides to do a follow up for an article with staff writer Jeff (Jake Johnson) and Arnau (Karan Soni) on an ad they found saying a person, Kenneth (Mark Duplass) is seeking a person to join him to go back in time, to bring weapons, and most importantly...Safety Not Guaranteed.
The film has so many feelings, emotions running wild, a heart pumping story, with lessons learned and relationships and love. The story is very well put, character development…
I definitely felt the quirkiness of this movie was at times more important than the things going on in the movie, but it really wasn't that big a deal for me, at least compared to other reviewers from what I've read.
The thing I liked was seeing how you've got these 4 personalities with the main characters. The sheepish planner who is trying very hard to prepare for his future. The cocky douchebag who laments for the "glory days" of his past. The girl who doesn't feel like she fits in anywhere, and the guy who everyone assumes is crazy.
I thought juxtaposing the jock who opined for the past against the crazy guy who thinks he can time travel…
You can go a lot of ways when it comes to the theme of time travel and Safety Not Guaranteed has an interesting take on it. The focus of the movie is on the main (sympathetic) characters' interactions and motivations, which also is the strongest part of the movie.
While you wouldn't perhaps expect the ending as it is, I kinda felt the movie didn't need it and might perhaps have been stronger without it.
A very sweet, good-intentioned and sweet hearted film. It's also a bit dumb and rampant with plot holes/meaningless tangents. But, I thought the acting was swell and it was sweet enough to charm me without making me sick.
Safety Not Guarenteeed tells the tale of a group a journalists that go after a man who claims to have a working time machine and is looking for a partner. Safety has a fairly smart idea on its hands but it fails to deliver on some key factors.
For one I didn't feel very much heart in this project. The characters are rather hollow stereotypes for the most part, the quirky pessimist, the socially awkward nerd, the cocky douchebag. Aubrey Plaza gives an acceptable performance most of the time but I feel she is rather emotionally ranged at times.
Safety Not Guarenteed is also one of those films that has a problem establishing firm roots as to whether it is…
hella cute and all but uh
the dude still needs some sort of therapy
Really cute, nothing like you imagined.
This movie seemed weirdly divisive: most of the reviews I've read either seem to enjoy the cute hipster-ness of it, while others see it as nothing more than a pretentious comedy trying to add a layer of depth that just wasn't there. I actually agree with both of those statements, so I guess it makes sense I come down somewhere in the middle - I was never bored or outright angry while watching the movie, but I really didn't get anything deep out of it. Oh, and the ending was a major letdown - I suppose it had something to do with being hopeful and an out-of-the-box thinker than being too cynical? Like I said, nothing deep here.
Film 40/100 of the June Challenge
So much potential was wasted with Safety Not Guaranteed. It had two likeable leads, a smart script with quirky dialogue, and an original story based those two elements on. But what went wrong? I'll tell you wh-
THE THIRD ACT
That's what went wrong. The movie went downhill after a couple of twists learned by the main character and it never comes back up. It just gets worse and worse for those final 15 minutes. And once we reach the end, it becomes rushed, convoluted, and unsatisfying. I really enjoyed the first two acts, but I'd like to forget that the third act could have been a whole lot better. So much potential for a thought provoking comedy but it ended on the most forgettable note.
What a lovely little film. Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson, and Mark Duplass all give great performances. The humor is fresh as is the storyline. Such an interesting take on time travel.