Safety Not Guarantee

MoviesEntertainmentSundance Film FestivalMark DuplassAubrey Plaza

Safety might not be guaranteed, but a good time is, if you catch this indie sci-fi comedy.

I’m not the biggest fan of Aubrey Plaza and the snarky characters she always plays. Perhaps I feel that way because I hated the movie Damsels in Distress, and hated her character in Funny People. I don’t remember her in Scott Pilgrim (those last two movies worth renting) and I don’t watch Parks and Recreations. She’s perfect in this movie.

Plaza’s boss is also perfectly cast. Jake Johnson seems so slimy and believable, as a writer for Seattle Magazine who brings along a few interns to get the scoop on the weirdo (Mark Duplass) who placed an ad for a companion to travel back in time with (“bring your own weapons, safety not guaranteed”).

The other intern is perfectly cast. He’s the nerdy Karan Soni, who has to listen to racist and mean-spirited comments from Johnson.

There’s some chemistry between Plaza and Duplass and there’s lots of great humor in this story. There are also some very sweet moments. One involves Duplass being self-conscious about his ear.

This movie was written by a pair that were interns at Saturday Night Live, and it ended up winning a screenwriting award at Sundance. It was well-deserved.

When you have nerdy and bizarre characters, it’s easy to get cheap laughs. That’s why it’s always a pleasant surprise when decent material is written that earns those laughs.

We aren’t just laughing at the various nerds and misfits, but we laugh at the idiotic writer that abuses his interns, looks up an old girlfriend on Facebook (only to be disappointed by her having aged and gained a few pounds).

The conversations all these characters have with each other feels real, too.

A good way to gage whether or not you’ll like this movie, is the Napoleon Dynamite test. I thought that film was good, but not great. Yet I’ve found people either seem to love it or hate it. If you liked Napoleon Dynamite, you’ll like this film. If you didn’t, this probably isn’t the movie for you.

There are two crucial scenes I would’ve changed in this (one involves information we find out about a previous girlfriend). It would’ve made the movie amazing, had it been done a different way.

I still enjoyed the ride. How can you not? The idea that it won’t be a DeLorean that takes us back in time, but perhaps a yellow Datsun 280Z.

This movie gets 3 ½ stars out of 5.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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