54. Safety Not Guaranteed (R) - Runtime: 86 minutes
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Derek Connolly
Much like Jeff, Who Lives at home, Safety Not Guaranteed is a small, quirky comedy that packs a lot of warmth and heart into its characters. It's a charming movie that runs under an hour and a half. It's hard not to at least like this movie, if not completely fall in love with the characters. It's surely high praise, but when a movie does so many things right, it's easy to forget some of its flaws.
The premise is simple - Darius (Plaza) is a Debbie Downer intern at a magazine and gets sucked into a story that "journalist" Jeff (Jake Johnson) wants to write about - a classified ad that 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. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed. Jeff is a major toolbag and just looking for an excuse for a paid vacation and maybe make fun of the dude. But Darius (not the best name on the planet!) starts to question her intentions when she begins hanging out with Kenneth (Mark Duplass).
It's not a movie that has a lot of belly laughs - it's a bit more subtle than that. But it's clever and just quirky enough to make you smile. I wouldn't go so far as to call this a "hipster" movie, but it definitely has that hipster sensibility. The great thing about this movie is you really have no clue where it's going and the ending is masterful. I don't want to spoil the story too much, but it's an ending that a few will loathe and most people will smile and say "fitting."
The performances are great - Duplass is quickly becoming a favorite dude of mine (he can act, write and direct - triple threat! Watch out, ladies!). Aubrey Plaza plays pretty much her role in Parks and Recreation here and that's not a bad thing. But once again, props to Jake Johnson for stealing every scene he's in. Even though he's a complete douchebag, you grow to love him for all of his flaws.
The movie does feel a bit rushed and the love story that develops between Kenneth and Darius seems a bit out of left field to grasp. I wouldn't say I didn't see it coming, but felt it needed more time to sink in for the audience as well as the characters. But this is a minor quibbles in an otherwise charming and quaint movie.
Rating: Rent It!