30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: Safety Not Guaranteed

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FilmDistrict / Big Beach

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) stars Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass and Jake Johnson in a movie about time travel and finding yourself. Darius (Plaza) is an intern at Seattle Magazine whose life is figuratively and semi-literally in the toilet. She volunteers to investigate an ad seeking a time travel companion with magazine writer Jeff (Johnson) and fellow intern, Arnau (Karan Soni).

They find Kenneth (Duplass), who wrote the ad, pretty quickly and discover he’s a bit weird. He thinks he’s constantly being followed by the ever-present Them, the government. Darius doubles down and matches his idiosyncrasies, gaining his trust.

Kenneth is like a manchild, completely stunted and lost in time with his denim jacket and old car. Still, he’s intense and endearing. There’s an especially adorable montage where Kenneth and Darius go through weapons and fitness training.

Meanwhile, Jeff tries to meet up with a hookup from decades ago. Ass that he is at this point, he sees her, writes her off as overweight (she isn’t) and is done with it. Jeff gives her another chance at the urging of intern Arnau and surprise, she’s a beautiful person.

Darius tries to figure out Kenneth and whether or not his claims of time travel capabilities are legit, while Jeff tries to sort out what kind of a man he is. Amazingly, this is one of those movies in which virtually everyone experiences pretty major character growth. Kudos to writer, Derek Connolly.

It’s important for me to note that Mary Lynn Rajskub (badass Chloe on 24) looks smoking hot in the dress she wears in her first scene and that I will always have her song from Gilmore Girls stuck in my head.

Also, Kristen Bell has a tiny, kind of icky part later on in the movie. However, I like seeing her face so it was a nice surprise.

The journey in Safety Not Guaranteed is everything but the end result is pretty damn awesome, too. I liked it a lot so I’m going to break my own rule and out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It and Hated It Like Poison, I’m giving it Liked It (A Lot).

PS – I lost 15 minutes of my life trying to figure out if I spotted Jorma Taccone (SNL, The Lonely Island) in an early scene or if I was going insane. It’s him but the verdict is still out on the latter. Big thank you to Karan Soni, who favorited my tweet about it.

2 responses »

  1. I think what put me over the edge of liked it to loved it is that I just stumbled upon it on Netflix with absolutely no hype in my head. Zero expectations and it blew me away. I love movies where it seems like they try to use Reason to make sense of the world, and then they throw that one thing in there that defies reason and really makes the movie charming.

    • Great point. I went in with some expectations but they were all the wrong ones. I don’t know what I expected but I was pleasantly surprised it went in a totally different direction.

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