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Critical Beat: Safety Not Guaranteed

July 15, 2012 Leave a comment

This past Friday I drove 45 minutes to see Safety Not Guaranteed.  Why did I drive 45 minutes to see a movie?  Simple, that was the closest theater actually playing this little indie flick.  Was it worth it?  Read on to find out.

 

 

Was I entertained?  

When I walked away from the theater I found myself full of hope, so I would have to say yes.

What I liked:  

Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation).  At first I was going to refer to her as adorable, but that wouldn’t have given her enough credit.  She has a quick, razor sharp wit.  But she does it in such a way that it’s just so…disarming.  It’s hard not to love her throughout the entire movie.  And the onscreen chemistry between her and Mark Duplass (The League) was superb.  Those two just seemed to feed off each other.  Aubrey with her deadpan deliveries and Mark with his zany brand of seriousness worked well on screen.

The premise of the movie is pretty straight forward.  At least that’s how it appears.  Three reporters investigate a guy who thinks he can travel back in time.  This “out there” premise is a disguise for a much simpler idea:  Can you ever truly revisit the past and fix the mistakes you made?  Watching how two different characters approach this idea is where the movie really shines.  Aubrey Plaza joins with Mark Duplass’s character as they explore the idea of time travel.  Jake M. Johnson (New Girl) instead seeks out his old high school flame and attempts to recreate what they once had.  Though they are approaching it with different methods, they are all trying to get back to a time where they were happier and life was simpler.  It’s through this exploration of their past that allows our characters to grow throughout the movie.

What I didn’t like:  

The storyline with Karan Soni is an awkward part of the movie.  He plays your stereotypical shy college student who loves playing WoW and can’t talk to women.  Jake M. Johnson’s character eventually tries to live his life through Soni’s character and it is a forced and unneccesssary way to try to present the movie’s message of living life in the now.

And as much as I love Aubrey Plaza in this movie, at times she is just way too trusting.  Some of the things Mark Duplass’s character does in this movie are out there.  And I’m not just talking crazy out there.  He actually does some things that would have him winding up in Guantanamo Bay never again to see the light of day.  And she goes along with it.  And all for a story?  I find that hard to believe.

What was the purpose of this movie:

Simply to remind us to live in the now.  The past is gone.  Never to be recreated.  Never to be changed.  At least that’s what we tell ourselves so we can sleep at night.

J.