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Safety Not Guaranteed - Film Review

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by Louis Fameli (subscribe)
www.louisfameli.com
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Laugh along while learning an all important life lesson
Safety Not Guaranteed is a quirky comedy centred on three Seattle Magazine employees who are researching an unusual classified ad that asks for a partner to travel back in time. The hilarious story that unfolds shows how safety is never really guaranteed.

Safety Not Guaranteed - Poster courtesy Rialto Distribution.
Safety Not Guaranteed - Poster courtesy Rialto Distribution.


Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is a college graduate, still lives with her father and doesn't exactly have a raging social life. Darius has never really 'fit in' with other people and has always been a bit of a loner. However, these qualities make her the ideal candidate to bond with the eccentric Kenneth (Mark Duplass), who placed the ad.

Kenneth, who works as a supermarket clerk by day, genuinely believes he has figured out how to travel back in time. Unfortunately for Kenneth, he is less than convincing when sharing the details of his grand plans. This is largely due to his zany conspiracy theories and left-of-centre outlook on the world.

Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass in Safety Not Guaranteed - Image courtesy Rialto Distribution.
Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass in Safety Not Guaranteed - Image courtesy Rialto Distribution.


All their respective quirkiness aside, Darius and Kenneth are a perfect match for each other and appear to click almost immediately. Firstly, however, Kenneth must make sure Darius isn't one of the "secret agents" following him. As the two characters spend more time together, viewers learn more about how seriously Kenneth takes time travel and the reasons he has for wanting to go back.

Meanwhile, Jeff (Jake Johnson) is using the opportunity of having interns doing his work to track down an old flame from his teenage years. In many ways, she was 'the one who got away' and viewers are shown that this time around Jeff wants more to develop from their relationship.

Jake Johnson and Karan Soni in Safety Not Guaranteed - Image courtesy Rialto Distribution.
Jake Johnson and Karan Soni in Safety Not Guaranteed - Image courtesy Rialto Distribution.


Arnau (Karan Soni), the other intern, is a computer gaming fan who is interning at the magazine who despite majoring in Biology in order to build what he calls a "well rounded resume". Simply put, he is almost the exact opposite of Jeff. Throughout the film Arnau slowly emerges from his shell, growing in confidence as he is taken under Jeff's wing.

The four leads each bring a genuine believability to their characters, taking the elements of their personas to create people viewers will understand. Plaza and Duplass are fantastic as the two quirky romantic leads, building a chemistry almost as unique as Darius and Kenneth's strange relationship. However, the bond that is quickly formed between Johnson and Soni's characters seems a little rushed, or perhaps under-explained. This is most likely a casualty of the time devoted to exploring Darius and Kenneth's time together, as their story is better developed.

Aubrey Plaza in a scene from Safety Not Guaranteed - Image courtesy Rialto Distribution.
Aubrey Plaza in a scene from Safety Not Guaranteed - Image courtesy Rialto Distribution.


Throughout the majority of the film, viewers are left guessing as to whether Kenneth is a genius or completely insane. When he and Darius first meet he warns her of the government agents that are following him, a telltale sign of someone suffering delusions. However, much to Darius's shock, she and the others later learn Kenneth is actually being followed by the government, who seem to be taking him very seriously.

The tagline for Safety Not Guaranteed is "what's your mission?" For each of the main characters, their mission is different and Safety Not Guaranteed is a collection of their stories, and tells how there is never safety guaranteed, no matter what mission you're trying to achieve. Overall, it is a fun film, filled with snappy dialogue and top performances from its leading and supporting cast. A must see for anyone wanting a comedy with a difference.

4/5

Another angle: There is a "will they or won't they" element to the time travel aspect in this film, which makes the story significantly different from your average romantic comedy. Viewers looking for a more traditional rom-com might find themselves wanting to go back in time in order to convince their ever so slightly younger selves to watch a different film.

Watch the trailer:



*Louis attended Safety Not Guaranteed courtesy of Rialto Distribution
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Why? Laugh along while learning an all important life lesson
Where: In cinemas
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