Jan 7, 2013

[Movies] Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

When you think of the sorts of movies that get screened or featured at film festivals, you don't typically think of science fiction movies. And while Safety Not Guaranteed isn't necessarily a science fiction movie either, but it certainly has an interesting bit of science fiction at its heart. And that does help make the movie move along quite well, at least for this particular geek.

This movie did not initially blip on the radar and I'm thankful that Tobie found a copy for us to watch. He's always good at finding interesting movies for us to explore - it's part of the reason why we work so well together in terms of our relationship.

The movie itself features Aubrey Plaza, perhaps more recently known for her work on Parks and Recreation. And while her character in the movie doesn't quite seem all that different from her TV character, she's still quite the sassy and entertaining lady. And throw that into a rather well-written movie and you do have quite the entertaining movie indeed.

Synopsis: Safety Not Guaranteed is a 2012 comedy directed by Colin Trevorrow and written by Derek Connolly. The movie has been doing well in the film festival circuit and has managed to win a number of awards already.

The center of the movie is Darius Britt (Aubrey Plaza), an intern at magazine who is rather disillusioned with her job and the lack of actual writing opportunities.  While brainstorming for articles, Jeff (Jake Johnson) suggests and investigative piece based on a classified ad about someone looking for a companion for a time travel mission. Eventually the group agrees for Jeff to pursue the story and he takes interns Darius and Arnau (Karan Soni) with him to Ocean View to follow the story.

But Jeff has his own reasons for traveling to Ocean View, and they don't necessarily involve the subject of the article. But they still go about the motions and try to determine the truth behind the story. And it is here that Darius demonstrates her skills in investigation and she manages to quickly identity the person who posted the classified ad and eventually manages to gain his confidence. But the central question remains - can this guy (Mark Duplass) really go back into time?

The movie seems almost perfectly tailored to Aubrey Plaza's particular brand of seemingly low-key humor. Sarcasm is one thing but the ability to deliver jokes in a rather masterful deadpan manner. She's clearly a witty and intelligent woman and that really does well in fleshing out her character. These traits make the ease of her getting our time traveler to trust her more and more rather logical and very believable.

Jack Johnson pretty much plays the same type of character that he portrays on New Girl. And that's not exactly the most appealing style of acting - but I suppose it's appropriate enough since the story does call for that sort of a guy. And while his story line is important, we have to be honest enough to admit that we don't exactly case as much about him. We want to see the time travel machine and let things take off from there!

The writing of the movie is rather nice. Beyond the comedy, the characters all feel very real, which is a rare gift even in movies. And just being able to memorize lines as needed and deliver them on cue is not the same as acting for true. This movie has a nice balance of good writing and rather competent delivery thus making for an interesting journey. And the time travel question does nag at you as a viewer all throughout the movie, which is a nice little hook that leads you through the adventure.

Will this movie work for everyone? Probably not, but such is the way of many of these film festival movies. Not everyone has the sort of temperament and disposition to enjoy strange narratives like this one. But for you movie geeks out there, I think this movie will have something to pique your interest should you give them a chance.

Safety Not Guaranteed isn't your typical comedy, but I suppose that can be said of any comedic drama that makes its way to the film festival arena. But it totally belongs there among all the other greats and I do hope you give it a chance. Thus we rate the movie as 4 strange tests that Darius has to complete out of 5.

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