Safety Not Guaranteed

A team of journalists are sent to find out who’s behind a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel, then must decide how to approach him.

Year: 2012
Certificate: 15
Runtime: 1hr 25m
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Aubrey PlazaMark DuplassJake JohnsonMary Lynn RajskubJeff GarlinKristen BellJenica BergereKaran Soni

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I first saw “Safety Not Guaranteed” around late 2013 when it was first added to Netflix UK and it’s a film I remember enjoying and wanted to watch again. I bought the Blu-ray a year or so ago but, as is always the case, opening boxes and inserting discs is a pain so I never got around to it… The film, however, made it back onto my Netflix recommendations so I thought I would take this opportunity for a second viewing.

The synopsis is pretty straight forward – the staff at a magazine in Seattle spot a classified ad in a local paper that says: “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”. They decide to visit the town to run a story on the person who placed the ad. Jeff (Jake Johnson) offers to do the story and takes along two interns to help – Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni). As it happens, only Darius is interested in the actual story; Jeff is using the trip to hook up with an old girlfriend while Arnau, looking to study science in college, simply wants some life experience that will look good on his application.

The film is fairly different from what I would usually watch (horror, thriller, comedy, action) so it did feel a bit slow at times. Slow, but certainly not boring – it plods along at its own pace. There was always a story being told and the sub-plots for each character were built upon along the way. It’s hard to give this film a genre, overall it’s technically a romance film – but it’s quirky rather than soppy. It’s also not particularly romantic.

As Darius tracks down Kenneth (Mark Duplass), the guy who placed the ad, she acts the part in order to find out more about him and his reasons for wanting to time travel – the final goal being to join him on his time-travelling escapades. It’s here that the characters are really developed and the story comes into its own. We learn more about the the lives of the mysterious Kenneth as well as Darius. We see a number of life changing things occur for both Jeff and Arnau too – who really just end up as minor roles in the film. Interesting, but minor. All the while we, the viewer, are painfully aware that Darius is simply looking for a story… Or is she?

As I’ve already mentioned, the characters are the highlight of “Safety Not Guaranteed” – they are all played excellently by the cast and are incredibly believable throughout. The story is entertaining with some amusing moments and it continues to hold its air of mystery right up to the very end of the film. Does Kenneth really have a time machine or is he simply the local eccentric? You’ll have to watch the film yourself to find out – but whichever way it falls, I can guarantee (see what I did there?) that you won’t be let down.

Earlier I was trying to define the film with a genre and clearly failed… I’ll try again. It’s a lighthearted drama with some great characters and an interesting story. Overall it’s simply an enjoyable film with a bit of a sci-fi twist.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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