Safety Not Guaranteed (FilmDistrict, ©2012 Big Beach, LLC)
Rated ‘R’ for language, it stars Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere, Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Mary Lynn Rajskub.
This apparently digital-only film starts off with the background of Darius (Plaza), just “blending in,” now working a menial internship as a staff writer. Taking orders as an intern, she would also be moving/installing supplies. And as mildly unpleasant as it is, she accidentally dips her hair into a toilet during one of these trips.
Her boss (Johnson as Jeff) takes on a story of Kenneth (Duplass), a man that has put out an ad on building a time machine, needing someone to come with. Jeff chooses, “the ‘lesbian’ (her), and the Indian (Soni as Arnau).” Her father (Garlin, in a small role as Mr. Britt) encourages her to go because of how sad she’s become.
The time traveler is, of course, seen as a nut for believing he can travel through time. His mission: go back in time and “be there” when a driver crashes into his supposed girlfriend’s (Bell) living room. Oh, the stories people tell for the instinctive purpose of connecting with other people. Getting closer to this man, Darius proceeds to tell him a story about how her mother died getting chocolate milk for her.
The movie would ultimately come down to how human beings ought not to be alone in their “missions” of life. A subplot involves the boss and Liz from way back in school (Bergere) meeting again via Facebook. A bit superficial, he skips the initial meet-up over her current looks —changing the color of her hair and gaining a little weight. A few neck massages and pies later, they “meet up” in bed.
Basically a realistic comedy with a surreal ending, the writing’s fine and the plot is condensed with a touch of science fiction and some science fact (I know a thing or two). There would actually be government agents following the guy, but mostly due to theft for parts. He would sneak into a government facility, and wind up sneaking out with eyes on him. This movie has originality. Grade: B+.