Movie Review: Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Posted: December 6, 2012 in Comedy

SafetyNotGuaranteed

Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is an intern for a Seattle magazine. A reporter at the magazine named Jeff, (Jake Johnson) finds an ad about a man who thinks he can go back in time and wants a partner to help him out.  Jeff thinks that this would be a quirky human interest story, and recruits Darius and another intern named Arnau (Karan Soni) to investigate this mystery man.  The two interns stake out the man’s post office box and find out that his name is Kenneth, (Mark Duplass) and that he works in a local supermarket.  Jeff tries to go undercover and become Kenneth’s partner, but fails.  Jeff is more interested in rekindling a relationship with an old girlfriend named Bridget (Mary Lynn Rajskub). Darius tries her luck, and Kenneth takes her on as a partner, and reveals that he is being followed by government agents, and that he needs to break into a Seattle building to steal lasers for his time machine.  Much against her better judgment Darius helps Kenneth break into a Seattle building to steal lasers, Kenneth also reveals that he is going back in time to the year 2001, to save a girlfriend, who was killed by a drunk driver. Kenneth’s outrageous story gains some credence when Darius, Jeff, and Arnau find that government agents Smith (Tony Doupe) and Jones (Xola Malik) are indeed following him, but they want to talk to him about the role he played in in the robberies in Seattle and elsewhere.   As Darius hears Kenneth’s story and the alienation of Kenneth’s childhood, she sees similarities to her own life, and starts to fall in love with him. Kenneth’s story hits a snag when Darius interviews Kenneth’s girlfriend, the one that’s supposed to be dead.  So what exactly is going on?  Is Kenneth a thief and a double-agent who’s selling this equipment to others?  Is he an eccentric?  Or is Kenneth really building a time machine?

I like this movie very much.  It is laugh out loud funny, and at its heart it’s a love story.  This is a story about two quirky people who meet each other and see the best in each other and believe in each other. Kenneth has had a sad life, he’s been ostracized for liking Star Wars and playing with Star Wars action figures.  Darius has a similarly lonely life, and is waiting for someone or something to believe in. That is the beauty of this movie, two lonely people finding each other, and embarking on a common dream.  The subplots involving Jeff and Bridget and Arnau are less engaging.  The nerdy, socially awkward Indian stereotype is downright insulting, but that stereotype has become something of the norm on tv and movies lately.  The subplot between Jeff and Bridget is interesting, but ends abruptly.  The ending of the movie is a little disappointing to me, but not unexpected.  The acting is very good, especially the two leads of Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza play sensitive misfits wonderfully and have a great chemistry going.  Jake Johnson looks and sounds like Mark Ruffalo, and is very funny as a lazy reporter who makes his interns do all the work, and only seems interested in kick-starting his love life.  All in all, this is a funny, somewhat touching offbeat love story.

Safety Not Guaranteed.  Guaranteed to make you laugh.

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