Film review: Safety Not Guaranteed

Maximilian Birkner, Contributor Ω

Safety Not Guaranteed tugs at the heart. While 300 words are usually enough to destroy a time travel flick, if you take it with a few grains of salt and ignore Aubrey Plaza’s one-muscle face, there is story enough to keep your eyes off your watch.

Let’s skip the inevitable time travel movie comparisons with Back to the Future or The Terminator. Safety Not Guaranteed’s redeeming feature is that it spends a lot of laughs on comic relief and very few snores on the complications of time travel. The story kicks off when a reminiscent, lost-in-life reporter named Jeff (Jake Johnson) and two deadpan interns, Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Amau (Karan Soni), go on assignment to Oceanview, Wash. to get the scoop on ragged eccentric Kenneth Calloway (Mark Duplass) who has placed an ad in a newspaper looking for a partner in time travel.

While her two friends go on the prowl for libidinous teen girls, Darius embarks on an almost-personal mission to find out what Kenneth is all about. Predictable romance ensues, peppered with anti-climactic action sequences and some mildly-insightful dialogue. From where it picks the audience up, Safety Not Guaranteed drops them just as far. Things take a dramatic turn from a campfire make-out session to the appearance of B-movie secret agents and a twist in the plot. The climax is as quick as it is perplexing, while still being heart-warming and leaves you wondering what really happened.

The only thing that makes this a 21st century movie is a mention of Facebook and the use of smartphones. Everything else is 1985. Electric-blue lightning bolts even make an appearance, leaving you to speculate what community college actually produced this thing. Safety Not Guaranteed is a throwback to the accidental feel-good flick that got you laid in high school. On a Thursday night in Kamloops at the Paramount Theatre, that’s good enough.