North Texas Daily

Netflix Rental: “Safety Not Guaranteed”

Netflix Rental: “Safety Not Guaranteed”

February 28
20:10 2013

Preston Barta

Film Critic

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), 86 min.

Rated R for language including some sexual references.

Written by Derek Connolly

Directed by Colin Trevorrow

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

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Magazine journalists Darius (Plaza), Jeff (Johnson) and Arnau (Soni) head out on a journey to interview Kenneth (Duplass), a reclusive individual that placed a classified ad seeking a companion to travel back in time with him.

Short review

If you favor imaginative narratives with clever dialogue and well-rounded characters, then “Safety Not Guaranteed” is the film to add to your stream cart this week. The story is well articulated with believable relationships, portrayed by a talented cast of familiar television actors, including Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”), Johnson (“New Girl”) and Duplass (“The League.”)

First-time filmmakers Connolly and Trevorrow create a “dramedy” about the personal experiences of love and the stuff that we carry around with us that makes us feel embarrassed and anxious.

Films like this are too few and far between these days. Most of the time hybrid-genre films are too unfocused and have a difficult time finding the right balance between comedy and drama.

However, “Safety Not Guaranteed” breaks past all the genre-faults and delivers its own pleasant brand of comedy and drama, while also taking a deep look into the human condition.

Plaza is enchanting and serves as the driving force behind the film. Her chemistry with Duplass is simply radiant. They feed off their character’s eccentricities and form an unlikely bond that rings true in every detail.

Johnson plays the kind of office scum that you would naturally ignore. However, what Johnson brings to the role, along with his character’s barbarism and quirky dialogue – that is reminiscent of “Juno” (2007) – makes him wildly engaging. Newcomer Soni provides some of the biggest laughs, adding to the film’s bizarrely comical story.

“Safety Not Guaranteed” is sincere, heartwarming and an absolute joy to watch from beginning to end, even if the ending does feel a bit overboard. It contains the spirit and charming qualities that every indie film strives to possess. Audiences will be enamored with it.

“Safety Not Guaranteed” is also available on Blu-ray and DVD today.

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