SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is a surprisingly delightful little movie with an intriguing premise. Full of quirky, interesting characters and a wonderfully offbeat sense of humor, it is also charming and romantic.
A kind of science fiction NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, the plot concerns a reporter and two interns of Seattle Magazine who, desperate for a story, decide to track down the person who placed a classified ad one of the reporters has stumbled across that reads: "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. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED."
Replies are to be sent to a post office box in the small seaside community of Ocean View, so the three travel to the town and stake out the post office, hoping to get a glimpse of whoever it is who retrieves the mail.
This leads them to Kenneth (Mark Duplass) an employee of a local grocery store. When Jeff (Jake Johnson), the reporter and head of the expedition strikes out, it is up to depressed and cynical Darius (Aubrey Plaza) to try and establish a relationship and find out what's behind the ad. Does Kenneth really believe he can go back in time? And if he does believe it, can he really do it?
Interestingly, screenwriter Derek Connolly did not come up with the ad for his screenplay, he got the idea for the screenplay after coming across the ad which actually ran in an issue of BACKWOODS HOME, a survivalist magazine. Apparently, the magazine was low on classifieds that issue so the editor decided to come up with an offbeat one of his own.
Aubrey Plaza is wonderful as Darius, a young woman already disillusioned with life who has her own regrets about the past. And Mark Duplass strikes just the right note as the paranoid conspiracy theorist Kenneth who is won over enough to allow Darius into his world while at the same time she is won over enough to let him.
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is a movie that stays true to itself and doesn't disappoint with an ending that, in its own way, is just right.
4 stars out of 4.
by Jonathan Mumm firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Mumm is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association who has been reviewing movies since 1974.