Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
Darius is a young intern at a Seattle-based magazine and jumps at the chance to investigate the author of a classified ad seeking someone to travel back in time with. Along with Jeff, the staff writer, and Arnau, a fellow intern, the three go on a road trip to a coastal town. While Jeff just wants to chase after his high school crush and Arnau wants some kind of life experience, Darius spends her time with Kenneth, a man who believes that he has built a time machine. The closer they become and the more they understand about each other, the less clear it becomes if Kenneth is just crazy or if he actually is going to successfully travel back in time. Written by
Some scenes were improvised, for example, when Jeff advises Arnau to raise his collar and wear sunglasses since they make him look like "a pilot that drives jets". See more »
When Kenneth picks up Darius on the beach at sunset and makes a wide, sweeping circle in the sand with the van, it's obvious from the tire tracks that they have rehearsed the scene at least once before. See more »
With witty lines and well written characters we're entertained through to the original ending.
"Safety Not Guaranteed" is based on an actual classified ad placed in a magazine, looking for someone to go back in time with. The real ad was just a joke for last-minute content. The movie, though, wonders what if it wasn't a joke. One young writer and two young interns are assigned to the story to figure out who is behind the ad, and how crazy he is.
Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is a sarcastic, defensive lost soul and appears to have at least some kind of genuine interest in the story. Jeff (Jake M. Johnson) is the staff-writer taking the lead but his only interest in the story is that he gets to go to the town where his high school crush lives. Arnau (Karan Soni) is tagging along because he does whatever will look good on his resume. The guy they are hunting down is Kenneth (Mark Duplass) and he truly believes that he is building a time machine. Darius forms an immediate connection with the guy and wants to help him with his adventure. Jeff immediately pegs him as a lunatic, so that just means he has more time to go skirt-chasing.
These are good characters, better written than what you would expect to find in a simple comedy. Each have their reasons for being there; each have a time they want to get back to; and each have something they want to experience. They also appear to be responsible in determining how much you will enjoy this movie. The rave reviews and the standing ovation reports coming out of Sundance all mention how much the characters echo their own lives. As if the writer has found the true essence of being a human being. However, there are people, me included, who don't actually connect to any of the characters but still found their plights and misadventures amusing.
This is a well written film, as most successful indies are. It thrives on witty lines and its ability to fully explore each of the characters. The first point makes it a comedy but the second point, the main one, makes it a drama so be prepared for a more thoughtful journey than just a laugh riot.
It is fairly original, especially with the much talked about ending, but I personally found that the low-budget indie "Juko's Time Machine" (2011) handled a similar concept in a much more ingenious way. "Safety Not Guaranteed" added fresh spins to basic concepts and was funny and entertaining throughout, just be careful with some of the comparisons it's getting.
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