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Safety Not Guaranteed

July 5, 2012


Warm characters, several questions and an audience that stayed until the end of the credits. Safety Not Guaranteed is a gem of a movie that intertwines time travel and comedy. What I love is that the time travel and characters are given the respect they deserve. The characters are three-dimensional wonders and Mark Duplass is turning into an indie leviathan.


What makes Safety Not Guaranteed work is the wonderful script that creates likable characters.  Leading the charge is Aubrey Plaza. Plaza (Parks & Recreation) is equal parts gawky, pretty, intelligent and weird. She is able to be goofy and confident at the same time. Her intro to Duplass is a highlight of the film.


Jake Johnson (New Girl, 21 Jump Street) is making a wonderful niche for himself as the fast talking jerky guy who has a heart of gold. His character takes an interesting journey that feels slightly unnecessary yet completely uncliched.

Safety Not Guaranteed Jake Johnson


The story centers around a man who posts an ad (see above) requesting a partner to join him in time travel. The request is earnest and truthful. Jake Johnson’s writer decides to find him so he takes two interns played by Aubrey Plaze and Karan Soni to assist in the story. Jake strikes out at his attempt to get in with the potential time traveler so he enlists Plaza to get the story. What follows is the blossoming relationship between Plaza and Duplass. The two form a bond due to their “weird mojos bonding.”


Plaza’s introduction to Duplass is a wonder of cool dialogue and confident acting. The two bond quickly and move forward with their plan to go back in time. Duplass is able to portray a man who is who is incredibly capable or crazy. His performance walks the line perfectly. You like him yet stay skeptical.

I love that this is not a movie about time travel. It is more interested in the characters. I also like how Duplass character is actually being followed. What makes it better is that the government agents are skeptical because the suspect lives in a house in the woods.

I won’t say whether or not the time travel happens. If they do it is secondary to the plot because character development is what matters. Safety Not Guaranteed is a movie about interesting people who have to take their own journeys involving time travel, love and loss.

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