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Safety Not Guaranteed

Posted by martinteller on January 25, 2014

Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is an intern working at a Seattle magazine, with fellow intern Arnau (Karan Soni) and writer Jeff (Jake Johnson).  They head to Ocean City to investigate an unusual ad placed in the newspaper, someone looking for a time travel companion… “Safety not guaranteed”.  They determine that the author of the ad is oddball Kenneth (Mark Duplass), a grocery clerk with a paranoid streak.  Jeff is really just there to hook up with an old flame (Jenica Bergere), and is happy to hand the assignment off to Darius.  She goes undercover and applies for the position, and as the two of them open up to each other, a bond forms.

I’m finding it tough to come up with much to say about this movie.  It’s pleasant.  It’s occasionally funny.  It’s quirky without going too far into the realm of being obnoxiously quirky.  There is a certain predictability to it and yet there’s also some clever takes.  The ending could have gone one of two ways, I think the movie makes the correct, most satisfying option.  The characters are flawed — some more than others — but each has a certain charm that makes them enjoyable to watch.  It’s a good time.

But (you knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you?) it just feels a bit slight.  And that’s fine, not every movie has to say something important or even new.  It’s just the kind of film that feels rather low-impact, like it would be hard to imagine on anyone’s top 10 list (top 10 of the year, maybe).  I was also disappointed that the Arnau character really just fizzles out at the end.  Maybe it’s a statement of sorts… the experience he had would have been treated as “transformative” in most movies, but here it’s brushed off as inconsequential.  Still, I wanted to get the character’s perspective on it.

This quibble about a secondary character aside, I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about the movie.  I can’t think of much I truly loved about it, either.  Nonetheless, it’s absolutely a fun movie with likable characters (is it just me, or does Jake Johnson have a Mark Ruffalo-esque quality to him?) and some well-crafted scenes.  I’m glad I watched it.  Rating: Good (75)


2 Responses to “Safety Not Guaranteed”

  1. Dan Heaton said

    I had a pretty similar reaction to Safety Not Guaranteed. I liked it and found the actors to have a good chemistry. It helps to have such likable people as Plaza and Duplass. It’s not something I think about much, but I really enjoyed the experience.

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