¨But at the end of the day do I need someone when I'm doubting myself and I'm insecure and my heart's failing me? Do I need someone who, when the heat gets hot, has my back?¨
Safety Not Guaranteed may be a small independent film, but it has a huge heart. They may not have had a great budget to work with, but the movie felt more authentic than most big budget Hollywood movies. Safety Not Guaranteed has great comedic touches, some drama, sci-fi, and even romance. It is a complete film that connects with the audience from the very opening scene. This is director Colin Trevorrow`s first feature film and he made a brilliant movie. He had a great screenplay to work with, also from a first time screenwriter, Derek Connolly, who happened to write the story specifically with Aubrey Plaza (from Parks and Recreation) in mind to play the lead character. She was amazing in this film as was her co-lead, Mark Duplass (Humpday). The chemistry between the two lead actors was really authentic, but the film also had a great story arch for the secondary characters as well. The film was really well written and the dialogue top notch. It`s hard to come across a movie that connects with the audience so well in so many different levels. I felt this was the indie version of Back to the Future, not because the film actually takes us to the past or shows us how to get there, but because it explores the issue of why someone would want to go back. I think that is much more important in a time traveling movie than the actual adventure. The characters here had a lot of depth and there were so many things happening in such a short period of time that I really don’t know how Treverrow accomplished all of this. This is a unique film that is hard to come across, an indie that actually feels like an indie, but that isn’t afraid to explore new subject matters.
Darius (Aubrey Plaza), who has a rather anti social behavior, lives in Seattle and is working as an intern for a magazine company. When her boss, Bridget (Mary Lynn Rajskub), asks the crew to come up with ideas for the next article, staff writer Jeff (Jake Johnson) mentions an unusual article that has been published in a classified ad in a small coastal town. The ad states the following ¨Wanted: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You will get paid when we get back. Safety not guaranteed.¨ Bridget gives the project the green light and sends Jeff to that town to investigate along with two interns: Darius and Arnau (Karan Soni). When the trio arrives at the town they begin investigating the man responsible for the ad: Kenneth (Mark Duplass). He acts all mysterious and is convinced that he is being followed. When Jeff tries to approach him and volunteer himself as the time travel companion Kenneth refuses and sends him away. Darius however manages to make a connection with Kenneth and wins his trust. The interns also discover that the real reason for Jeff wanting to write an article on Kenneth is because he wanted an excuse to reunite with his High School fling, Liz (Jenica Bergere), who lives in the same town. That relationship becomes the side story to the main idea that revolves on the relationship that Kenneth and Darius begin to form as they prepare for their time travel. The real question is whether Kenneth really is building a time machine or if he´s just a messed up and crazy person.
The connection that Darius and Kenneth make is the true heart of the story. The question isn’t whether Kenneth can actually time travel or if he can really go back in time, but rather why he wants to go back and if he`s crazy or not. He does act in a rather peculiar way, but he´s also a very nice person who cares for others. That is what ultimately attracts Darius to him, his humane heart, although she isn’t quite sure if this guy is totally nuts or a genius. The film deals with these issues in a very authentic and powerful way. I really connected with this small indie film and enjoyed every minute of it. It had me laughing really hard at times, despite it not being a laugh out loud comedy. It has a lot of heart and even mixes some sci-fi elements as well to please everyone. The performances were really special, but the screenplay helped a lot as well. There were several moments and dialogues that rang really true throughout the film. I really loved this film and recommend it if you have a chance to see it.