Safety Not Guaranteed 

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass + Jake Johnson

Directed By: Colin Trevorrow

Corky, brilliant, and touching cannot even begin to describe my favourite movie for this month, Safety Not Guaranteed.  Starring the hilariously deadpan and sarcastic Aubrey Plaza, Safety Not Guaranteed is a funny and touching film that is guaranteed to win you over.  The film follows the story of a Seattle journalist and two interns as they track and investigate a man who has placed an ad in his local paper with the hopes of finding someone to “travel back in time with.”  The film was inspired by a real ad placed in a 1997 edition of the Backwoods Home Magazine classifieds as joke filler, reading:

“WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke… You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed.  I have only done this once before.”

In an attempt to find and exploit the man who wrote the ad, the journalists travel to the small town where it was published. Aubrey Plaza’s character, Darius, is a recent college graduate who is unhappily still living at home with her father.  Working as an intern with a smart Seattle magazine, she is picked, along with another intern, Arnau (Karan Soni), to assist one of the head journalists, Jeff (Jake Johnston), in investigating the man who wrote the ad. On their journey, they find Kenneth (Mark Duplass); a loner who works as a clerk at the local supermarket—and the man who genuinely believes that he has built a time travel machine. Darius is sent out to befriend Kenneth in order to learn more about his time travel “mission,” while Jeff is preoccupied with his true motivation behind the investigation: a past, young love in the small town.  Despite Jeff’s general lack of interest in the story, Darius becomes increasingly involved with the ‘mission’ and becomes quite close with Kenneth.

Darius is gradually welcomed into Kenneth’s unusual life.  Through ‘mission training’ and general preparation for the adventure, including breaking in to a scientific factory to steal lasers, the two become very close.  Connecting through similar emotional battles and societal indifferences, Kenneth and Darius soon learn that they are much more similar than anyone could have imagined.  As they learn from one another, they eventually grow together, creating an unlikely relationship which is both entertaining and heart-warming to watch unfold.

Aubrey Plaza puts on an amazing performance in this film, bringing her dead pan humour – the same humour that we’ve all grown to love from her many smaller supporting roles— to her first leading performance.  Plaza’s ingenious performance is complimented by the fantastic and loving character which Mark Duplass has created with Kenneth Calloway.  The two form an unlikely match which you can’t help but to be drawn to— and inevitably love— by the end of the film.  Together, Kenneth and Darius embark on a hilarious and unexpectedly heartfelt journey that shows you just how powerful believing in the unbelievable can be.

Safety Not Guaranteed offers a new insight into the lives of somewhat ‘socially awkward’ characters who are searching for meaning in their lives, and a means to escape the mundane routines that preoccupy the people around them.  You grow to connect with characters which you may usually never find connections with, simply due to their raw and honest nature.  Easy paced, cleverly written, and ending with a final scene that’ll leave you feeling uplifted and almost speechless, Safety Not Guaranteed is definitely a must see.

Yours creatively,

Callie Mathieson, Online Entertainment Contributor  

Image: Tumblr


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