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Review: Safety Not Guaranteed

Posted July 3, 2012 by in Comedy







Musical Score

Total Score

82/ 100

What We Thought

Actors: , ,
Runtime: 85 Minutes

What We Liked :

Tight Pacing, Aubrey Plaza breakthrough performance

What We Disliked:

Subplot Incomplete, Suspension of belief over characterization and ending
Bottom Line

Safety Not Guaranteed is thoroughly satisfying and look for Aubrey Plaza in a lot more features soon.

by Max
Full Article

If you had a chance to go back in time, what would you change? Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass star in Safety Not Guaranteed, a comedy about time-travel that always leaves the audience guessing. A Sundance Film Festival favorite, Safety Not Guaranteed features strong lead performances and a captivating premise that will have its characters embark on a quest of awakenings.

Safety Not Guaranteed all started when screenwriter Derek Connolly found an ad in a newspaper in which someone was looking for a companion on a time-travel expedition. “WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91, Ocean View, WA 99393. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.” This concept is turned into a wild story where magazine writer (Jake Johnson) and his two interns, must find the person you placed the classified ad and find if her is for real. What they don’t expect is that the interviewee is kind of odd.

Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) in her first leading role is fantastic. She plays a Darius, a young woman who is floundering around life after the unfortunate death of her mother some years ago. She feels responsible for the catastrophic accident and the melancholy attitude deters her from succeeding. Plaza has a lot of screen presence and is able to play Darius as a woman who needs healing from her past and she gets it from the most unlikely suitor. Mark Duplass (Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister), playing, Kenneth, who placed the classified ad, is completely unhinged. His portrayal has a fine line to walk. There’s always a question of whether he is serious about time-traveling. There’s a fine line between genius and insanity and Kenneth might be the empitimy of that definition.

Some movies don’t know how to pace properly. Safety Not Guaranteed has been edited into a finely crafted movie. There’s not a second wasted in the entire film and it never overextends its welcome. It almost as if 85 minutes was the sweet-spot for the film to meet, which does leave the character played by Jake Johnson, to feel a little incomplete. His story about trying to rekindle a romance is a captivating subplot and continues to showcase how these characters can’t let go of the past.

Director Colin Trevorrow and writer Derek Connolly have created an intriguing story out of a classified ad. Safety Not Guaranteed takes the premise of the ad and turns it into a story about growth and letting go of the past. While looking for that past they discover what they have in the present. Safety Not Guaranteed is thoroughly satisfying and look for Aubrey Plaza in a lot more features soon.

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About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.



    I know a number of people enjoyed this movie but I didn't like it very much. Maybe I'm missing something but I felt it was all over the place. I did love how the title played into the ultimate played into the premise of stepping out of your comfort zone for all the characters, and I did really enjoy Plaza's performance but that was about it.


      It was a little all over, but I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket when he was trying to take the chemicals from the lab. Incredibly funny.


    jealous that you got to see this one and I haven't yet.

    I didn't read through the review, but I did see your score and initial assessment. I hope to see it soon and then return.



      Please do return once you've seen this. I wouldn't have had the opportunity unless I was in Boston, but I'm glad I was able to.


    I'm really excited to see this movie, and it's awesome to see another positive review. With such an amusing concept and a great cast, this sounds like a lot of fun.


    Max, your site design is absolutely amazing man. Especially your rating system bar — it just kills me every time.

    I'm trying to refigure my comment system — yours is specifically great. What kind is it, if you don't mind me asking?


      Haha, thanks Sam.

      I think it's just part of the wordpress design. There's nothing too dramatic about it. I hear a lot of people heading to Disqus. I'm not moving anytime soon, but it might be a good idea as well.

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