Reason Writers at the Movies: Peter Suderman Reviews Safety Not Guaranteed
In today's Washington Times, Senior Editor Peter Suderman reviews the sci-fi indie comedy Safety Not Gauranteed:
Safety Not Guaranteed" comes with a warning label for a title: It need not have bothered. This gentle sci-fi romantic comedy is as harmless as they come.
Director Colin Trevorrow's thin but sometimes charming film clocks in at just 85 minutes, but still feels slightly padded — more like an extended television episode than a full-fledged feature.
The story starts when Jeff (Jake M. Johnson), a cynical magazine writer, drags two interns on an out of town trip to report a sneering story inspired by a classified ad: The ad's author says he's going on a time-travel adventure, and he's looking for a partner.
Jeff plans to spend most of the trip seducing a high school flame, so one of his interns, a young woman named Darius (Aubrey Plaza), ends up doing most of the work. The other, dweeby Arnau (Karan Soni), is a science major who has no evident interest in journalism and tags along for no apparent reason other than sitting on the sidelines and playing with his computer.
Darius tracks down Kenneth (Mark Duplass), the ad's paranoid, free-spirited author, and convinces him that she wants to be his partner — but doesn't tell him about the article. He slowly lets her in on his plans, and a subtle romance blooms.
Is Kenneth a nut or is his time-machine real? Mr. Trevorrow dangles the question in front of the audience until the very end but makes little effort to generate suspense.