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Safety Not Guaranteed

Verdict: Not great, but kind of refreshing in its oddity and charming sweetness.  

A trio of reporters with nothing better to do follow up on a weird classified ad looking for a time-travelling partner.   Aubrey Plaza pretends to be as crazy as Mark Duplass, who claims that the government is after him because he knows how to travel through time.  In the process, she discovers that, while he may be a weirdo, he’s kind of sweet and she wouldn’t mind kissing him — or time travelling with him.   Meanwhile, her boss (Jake M. Johnson) hooks up with an old high school girlfriend and tries to get nerdy intern (Karan Soni) laid.

This is not your father’s time travel movie.  It starts off pretty bumpy, as all the actors seem to be trying to hard to establish their characters – Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza as misfits, and Jake M. Johnson as a real jerk.  They come across more as edgy TV sitcom characters than as real people.  But after the first hour or so they relax a little, and just let things happen, and this part of the movie is a lot more fun.  The point, I guess, is that everyone has an outer appearance that can be offputting, but underneath is tenderness, vulnerability, and surprising desires and talents.  But everybody seems more comfortable playing the swan than the ugly duckling, and that holds the film back.


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