Safety Not Guaranteed

  • Year:2012
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Colin Trevorrow
  • Cast:Kristen Bell, Mark Duplass, Jeff Garlin, Jake M. Johnson, Aubrey Plaza, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Lynn Shelton
  • Release Date:October 18, 2012
  • Distributor:Rialto
  • Running time:85 minutes
  • Film Worth:$14.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

It’s a slight and modest flick that occasionally lapses into sentimentality, but it’s original and nicely carried by the actors.

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If you had a time machine, where would you go back to? The golden age of Greece? The Pleistocene era, perhaps? The characters here shoot for the year 2001 – just yesterday in the grand scheme of things. This failure of imagination is reflected throughout the film.

The premise isn’t bad, actually. Three cynical Seattle magazine employees set off on an assignment to track down the person behind a bizarre magazine ad, which reads, “Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. You’ll get paid after we get back. I have only done this once before.” The trio’s cynicism turns out to be skin deep, as it does with just about everyone else in the story, and revelations of the tender hearts beneath the sardonic wisecracks get tiresome and repetitive. Feeble references/jokes about Star Wars, and feebler-still allusions to Men In Black, don’t help either.

Team leader and supposed sleazebag, Jeff (Jake M. Johnson), tries to offer his services to Kenneth (Mark Duplass), the brooding and paranoid smalltown supermarket clerk who was the perpetrator of the ad. Kenneth knocks him back, but in any case, Jeff’s real priority is looking up an old girlfriend. The doe-eyed Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is more successful in gaining Kenneth’s trust. (It’s no surprise when he says, “My reason for going back is a girl”; this is much more a rom-com than a sci-fi flick.)  And then there’s Arnau (Karan Soni), an awkward and nerdy intern who is nonetheless the most likeable member of the investigating trio. Safety Not Guaranteed is a bit syrupy, but it’s well acted and there’s nothing really drastically wrong with it. It’s just slight and easy to forget.

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