With the amount of movies and blockbusters that come out during the summer, it is hard to find time to see all of the movies you want. You never have time to see them all, but you try your best to see the one that everyone is talking about or the one that is getting the buzz from critics and newspapers. So it is no surprise to miss out on some gems that fall just under the radar of most movie goers. I for one fall victim to this all of the time. I was really excited to see The Best Exotic Merigold Hotel, but had no idea that it was out, let alone had been for a few weeks before I found it at my local cinema. I have still yet to see it, but it is now on my list of things to watch before the second half of the summer blockbusters start to take over the theaters.
So when a friend of mine called me to see a movie that I had not heard of, I jumped at the opportunity to see something that was relatively unknown within my group of friends, and something that I had yet to see ads for. Her school was showing an advanced screening (Thanks CINSSU!), of Safety Not Guaranteed and she had an extra pass. Let me tell you, I am so glad I was able to see that film. But before I go into why I enjoyed it – and I did really enjoy it – and why you should go see it – because you should really go see it – I will give a brief synopsis of the film.
Darius (Aubrey Plaza) has never really fit in. After her mom passed away when she was a child, she didn’t make many friends and was an outsider for most of her life. She takes an internship at a magazine, and is tasked with the grunt work of the office. When one of the staff writers (Jake Johnson) pitches the idea for a story that is both intriguing and crazy, Darius offers to help. Along with another intern, Arnau (Karan Soni), they travel to Ocean View to find the person who left a mysterious add in a paper. The ad reads:
Wanted: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.
After meeting Kenneth (Mark Duplass), the man who posted the ad, Darius goes undercover to find out if the man is crazy or not. As the friendship between Kenneth and Darius grows, she starts to become more invested in this adventure and less interested in the story the magazine wants. When she realizes that Kenneth is being followed by government agents, as he claimed from the very beginning, she starts to believe that not everything is as it seems. Meanwhile, Jeff, the staff writer, has really only come back to Ocean View to rekindle a sexual relationship with the first woman who was ever intimate with him. Being extremely shallow and vain, when he sees her, he is unsure if she is attractive enough for him. All the while, Arnau is just there to make his resume look good so he can get into a good graduate school.
The film is produced by the same producers of Little Miss Sunshine, so it has that darker comedy aspect to it. But at the same time, it focuses on the outsiders of the world, so it also has that awkward comedy aspect to it as well. The writer and director, both relative new comers to the big screen, create a great story by weaving together an interesting quirky rom-com with hints of sci fi themes. But what really makes this film a pleasure to watch is the characters and their relationships with one another. They all have their own traits and this is what makes them believable and easy to relate with. Although most of the actors have had their stints in various roles on the big screen, this would mark the first time that they had to carry the film on their own shoulders and prove that they were leading man/woman material. All of the actors met the challenge and tackled everything head on. Although Jeff had to show a wider range of emotion than the two primary characters, they didn’t take a back seat to him. You feel for each character and want them to end up on top.
The film is not without some faults though. This is a romantic comedy after all, so it is met with the same faults all romantic comedies are. Some of the plot points you can see from a mile away, while others come to surprise you. But even though there are some cliche aspects, the pay off is quite surprising with a wonderful third act that will leave you talking about it with your friends afterward. Best of all, this film is based on an ad that really was published!
Overall the film is definitely worth the watch and it should not fall under the wayside. It is a fun rom-com and has plenty of quotable lines that are not only funny but pretty nerdy as well. Trust me, this is definitely a move to keep on your radar, and best of all, it comes out on June 15th! So go see it, because even though Safety may not be guaranteed, laughs and a good time definitely are.