Safety Not Guaranteed

Directed By: Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, and Mark Duplass

"Wanted: Somebody 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."
-Classified Ad

There's a thin line between genius and insanity.  More often than not, we label somebody as cuckoo when they're trying to think outside the box and do something others would deem inconceivable.  More often than not, we're right.  Every once in a while, a guy comes along who looks like a nut, walks like a nut, and talks like a nut.  The problem is that he plays things close to the chest, and you don't know whether he's just crazy or insanely brilliant.  With the ad above, we'd all probably like to think that Mark Duplass's Kenneth is just crazy, but one can never tell.  Director Colin Trevorrow wants to keep it that way in Safety Not Guaranteed.

Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is an anti-social young woman who lives in Seattle with her father.  She works for a newspaper in Seattle as an intern.  When reporter Jeff (Jake M. Johnson) proposes doing a story on a guy who wants to travel back in time and has placed an ad in the paper about this, Darius enthusiastically volunteers for the assignment.  Along with the other intern Arnau (Karan Soni), Darius accompanies Jeff on a trip to a small town where this guy lives.  The only information they currently have on him is his P.O. Box at the town's post office.

Naturally, Jeff leaves his interns to find out more details on this guy, while he searches for his old flame Liz (Jenica Bergere).  Darius eventually identifies the man when he goes to the post office and follows him to his job at a local grocery store.  There, she finds out his name is Kenneth (Mark Duplass).  She reports this information back to Jeff, who goes to visit Kenneth and asks to join him on his time travel mission.  After being completely rejected, Jeff sends Darius to partner up with Kenneth.  As a hot mysterious girl, she easily convinces Kenneth to include her on the mission.  As part of her assignment, Darius spends countless hours with Kenneth preparing for the mission and getting to know the man behind the classified ad.  As she gets to know Kenneth more, the lines blur, and she's unsure of whether Kenneth is profoundly insane or insanely brilliant.

Safety Not Guaranteed is a simple movie that hinges on the performances of its main characters, and they all do a good job.  I really enjoyed Aubrey Plaza's Darius.  Her unique brand of charm and dry wit brings a whole lot of fun to the film.  Her character Darius may be a little eccentric, but she is definitely a no-nonsense girl.  As she says in the movie, "there's no sense in nonsense when the heat's hot".  With this kind of character, Plaza certainly brings plenty of great one-liners to the table.  Plaza definitely has a good future ahead of her in cinema.

Between Your Sister's Sister and Safety Not Guaranteed, we've certainly gotten plenty of Mark Duplass this weekend.  Safety Not Guaranteed is a quirky, charming little comedy that allows Duplass to get a little crazy on screen as the seemingly insane Kenneth.  I'm also a fan of New Girl's Jake M. Johnson.  He takes on the role of Jeff in this flick.  While his brand of comedy is a little more mainstream, he blends in well with the rest of the cast.  Because of the dry humor coming from Aubrey Plaza's Darius, the straight-faced yet profoundly insane statements from Mark Duplass's Kenneth, and the nonstop wisecracks delivered by Jake M. Johnson's Jeff, there's plenty of material to keep you chuckling during this flick.

While I thoroughly enjoyed Safety Not Guaranteed, the ending was rather predictable.  It's a formulaic ending that we've seen a thousand times on screen.  I would have rather seen the unexpected.  That would have given us something more to chew on afterward.  Because of this, Safety Not Guaranteed gets a 0.06% rating.  Have a few rounds of beer with this one.