Friday, April 5, 2013

Safety Not Guaranteed

Get out your guns and lasers, we're reviewing Safety Not Guaranteed!
If Aubrey Plaza stares into the abyss, the abyss runs home crying.
Darius(Aubrey Plaza) is an intern for a magazine. When one of the writers Jeff(Jake Johnson) takes her and Arnau(Karan Soni) on a trip to interview Kenneth(Mark Duplass) who supposedly is building a time-machine, she decides to pretend to be an assistant wanting to go back in time to get closer and find out if he can really do it. Can he really travel back in time?

This is more of a cute romantic comedy than a sci-fi flick. You start to wonder if he really can go back in time, but the emphasis is on the relationships of all the characters more than the science. And like I said, it's cute. You are going to see this mostly because Aubrey Plaza is playing April Ludgate from Parks and Recreations but in a way that explains why she's so anti-social and cynical.
Darius and Kenneth have such great chemistry  Why can't the entire movie be
them going through time doing karate on dinosaurs?
Plaza really sells it, and it's worth seeing if you're a fan of hers because she is awesome and fun and a bit emotional and kills her part. KILLS IT.  It's amazing and a true color of her acting ability how she can portray so much emotion in that dead-eyed stare she normally has. Duplass does a steller job of playing a weird fun guy that you want to root for, so much so that you want to actually be able to make time travel happen.  Plaza and Duplass have real chemistry and you just want them to get together and make babies with their mouths. Jake Johnson basically plays Nick from The New Girl and I hate his character because he's kind of a dick, so I guess you could say he does a great job of pulling that off too?  So with Plaza and Johnson, are we just assuming this is prequel cannon to Parks and Rec and New Girl?

There's some stuff in the beginning how Darius can't really get a job and she has to work as an intern and do all these crappy things, and I would have liked to see more of that. Or maybe I really just want to see an intern movie with Aubrey Plaza.
He is just as awkward and
annoying as he is on The New Girl,
so take that as you will.

Anyways, however cute the story might be(and it is pretty cute, come for a nerdy cute indy romcom, not a sci-fi flick), I found it pretty damn charming and interested in the budding relationship between Darius and Kenneth.  The problem is that there's a subplot of Jeff only wanting to do the story so he can come back and hook-up with an old girlfriend. I really don't care about it and wish the whole movie was about Kenneth and Darius. Jeff's story is dumb and annoying and he's a total jerk so we don't really care about him anyways. There seems like there's a story arc where he's going to change, and it would have been worth it if they had tied it back to the main story and made the whole thing about love, loss and trying to change the past, but then the movie forgets about Jeff's story completely. It feels like filler.

And you do really wonder whether they're going to pull it off or if he's just crazy and delusional. And it's done well, because like Darius, at the beginning of the movie, we know this is a silly rom com and not a sci-fi movie so there's no way he can pull this off. We're jsut waiting for the inievitable dissapointing end where it was all some big metaphor for life or something. But the more you watch, the more you want him to be true. You don't really know if he can do it and you don't really care, you just need this guy to actually pull it off so you have something to believe in again.

There's not much else to it than that. It's a cute indy romcom, Plaza is great and Duplass is fun, and it's a silly movie. The end is kind of annoying, because though they answer the quetion, it feels cut off, leaving a lot of questions hanging. But still, there's fun to be had.
Arnau looks like he could be a total bro.
Bro, do you even time travel??

THE GOOD: funny, fun, Aubrey Plaza is amazing, Mark Duplass is fun, the story and relationship is cute, wonder if they will go back in time, it's nice.

THE BAD: Jeff's story is filler, wanted more intern stuff, ending kind of cuts off.

THE VERDICT: $$$ Y'know, it's not bad, it's cute and all, but there's nothing that special here. Pick it up if you like Aubrey Plaza and want to go AWWWWW a lot, or not. Whatever.

MOVIES LIKE IT: The Science of Sleep, Juno, Parks and Recreation 

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: When Darius is interviewing to be Kenneth's assistant, they have a real chemestry. "Ever face certain death?" asks Kenneth. "If it was so certain, I wouldn't be here, would I?" answers Darius.

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