Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Video review: "Safety Not Guaranteed"
In addition to being one of my favorite films 2012, "Safety Not Guaranteed" also nabs the title of Best Movie Nobody's Seen. This tiny indie came and went from theaters quickly, but inspired plenty of passion among the few who bought tickets.
This quirky black comedy/drama is about a trio of journalists sent to check out a cryptic help-wanted ad for a companion to travel through time. "Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before," it concludes.
Aubrey Plaza, best known for TV's "Parks and Recreation," plays Darius, a cynical intern looking not so much for her big break as something to break the monotony. She finds it in Kenneth (Mark Duplass), the odd but oddly charming fellow behind the ad. Paranoid and defensive, he slowly starts to let his guard down, and a nascent romance begins to take form.
Along for the ride are Jeff, a 40ish reporter who's using the story as a ruse to get a free trip to his hometown, and Arnau, a shy Indian-American nerd who yearns to lose his virginity.
Everyone assumes Kenneth is a kook, but he doesn't seem like a very dangerous one. When strangers in sunglasses and black SUVs start following him around, it starts everyone to wondering if there's more to his bizarre plan than meets the eye.
Do people in this story really travel through time? I won't tell you, not only to save the surprise but also because it's not really germane to the success of this film. "Safety Not Guaranteed" does not dazzle us with sci-fi hocus-pocus, but studies what effect the possibility of its existence has on a small group of sharply-drawn characters.
What a daffy, dark, joyous ride.
Alas, extra features -- the same for DVD and Blu-ray versions -- are somewhat lackluster. There is no commentary track or anything to spend hours with. There are two brief featurettes: "A Movie Making Mission" and "The Ad Behind the Movie." You can also hunt around for a hidden time capsule Easter Egg.
Movie: 3.5 stars out of four
Extras: 1.5 stars