What would you do if you could go back in time and change one thing about your life? Would you go back far enough to change an entire timeline and cause a dramatic shakeup in your fate or would you go back and tweak one little thing that may nor may not cause any dramatic changes in your life or the lives around you? In “Safety Not Guaranteed”, the question of whether or not we control our fate and how much we dwell in the past is the driving question of the movie.
“Safety Not Guaranteed” stars Aubrey Plaza, who many know from her role on NBC’s “Parks and Rec”. Here she plays an intern at a Seattle magazine. She is miserable in her life and has never really felt like she fit in high school, college or her new job. During a meeting at the magazine, one of the writers, Jeff, played by Jake M. Johnson (“New Girl”, “21 Jump Street”), suggests they do an article on a guy who posted a personal ad seeking a partner for a time travel mission. He selects Darius (Plaza) and another intern named Arnau (Karan Soni) to tag along.
A road trip commences and Jeff, Darius and Arnau track down the time traveler, Kenneth, played by Mark Duplass from FX’s “The League”. Kenneth is a guy who may or may not be out of his mind. He works at a grocery store and seems just as out of place in his life as Darius. She pretends to answer his ad, hoping go gain info about why he is doing what he is doing. The two instantly connect and she begins training for the time traveling mission.
Jeff has other plans during this trip. He wants to reconnect with an old high school flame, which reinforces the idea that many of these characters are living in the past or still haunted by mistakes they’ve made and hope there is some way to fix them. The movie is a funny and endearing movie about the tragedy of regret and hopelessness that will keep you guessing right up until the end.
“Safety Not Guaranteed” is one of the best films of 2012 because of the originality of the script and the performances by Plaza and Duplass. It offers a lot of existential questions about how much we are all living in the past and whether mistakes we made then affect decisions we make now.
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