Having caught up with many of the “must see” films recently released, I had a chance to explore some recent vintage films that were a little farther down on my radar yet intrigued me. None did so more than the 2012 romantic comedy/sci fi (?) film Safety Not Guaranteed.
Written by Derek Connolly and directed by Colin Trevorrow, Safety Not Guaranteed concerns a (at first) obnoxious journalist for a Seattle magazine who takes two geeky interns off to a nearby coastal town to find and investigate the man who posted a strange notice in the want ads concerning looking for a companion to time travel with. The second to the last line of the want ad states that “safety not guaranteed”.
Without giving too much away, we quickly find that the outwardly obnoxious lead journalist, Jeff (Jake Johnson) could care less about this assignment and, in reality, asked to do it so that he could reconnect with an old love of his that lives in that town. Thus the main investigator of this story becomes the shy and (possibly) damaged Darius (Aubrey Plaza) who, after finding and befriending Kenneth (Mark Duplass), the man behind the mysterious ad, begins to wonder if perhaps he’s not quite as crazy as he seems.
I really liked most of this movie. It had a great independent vibe to it and, despite presenting some of the typical “romantic comedy” tropes (in particular the “main character gets close to other main character for secret reasons and falls in love but when the secret is revealed will love survive?!”), the movie nonetheless delivers plenty of fresh material and oddball situations to keep us involved in the story’s progression.
If there’s a complaint to be made, and it is a minor one to me, it is that the film’s ending felt a little too…obvious. I wish that instead of giving us such a concrete ending the filmmakers had instead offered us a more ambiguous conclusion that hinted to the possibility of Kenneth being right but also left the door open to him maybe being…off. In the end, love can still conquer all.
Having said that, let me reiterate: It is a minor complaint and Safety Not Guaranteed is certainly worthy of your attention. Recommended.