Monday, June 24, 2013

Netflix Files: Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Written by: Derek Connolly
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Mark Duplass, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Rating: R
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars!

Hello faithful readers! My last post from a few days back has not performed as well as I'd hoped in number of views, so I'm already back with a vengeance! I decided to mix it up and put out a review on something I'd watched on Netflix. I felt this makes watcing the topic film easier, should someone who reads this be interested in doing so! I will continue to post both archives, Netflix indulgences, and (should you be interested) new movies, since I've been to the theatre almost every weekend this summer!

Last night, my fiancee, my brother, and myself went to Little Caesar's (did you know that you can get a pizza, crazy bread, and a 2-liter for ten bucks?! Crazy!) and then returned to my humble abode to scour Netflix for something interesting to to watch while eating (since the two always seem to go hand in hand now a days). I mostly use Netflix for TV shows (I'm amidst a slow watch-through of Arrested Development Season 4 and a slightly quicker trip through Supernatural), but after a little debate through the movies on my instant queue (there aren't many) we settled on Safety Not Guaranteed.

Initially, I was excited about the film for two reasons. I saw Colin Trevorrow directed, and he was attached to directing Jurassic Park 4, and the other was that I'm a huge Parks and Recreation fan, and Aubrey Plaza is a huge part of that experience for me! Now..forward!


A magazine reporter, Jeff (Jake Johnson; 21 Jump Street), recruits a couple of interns Darius (Aubrey Plaza; Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) and Arnau (Karan Soni; Betas) to follow a story about a classified ad placed in the newspaper. The ad is searching for a time-travel partner. Following said lead, the trio eventually stumble onto the ad writer, Kenneth (Mark Duplass: Zero Dark Thirty) and must figure out how to approach him.

Thoughts (What I Liked):

Initially I was worried, because the first five minutes indicated that Aubrey Plaza was just playing April Ludgate in a movie. Don't get me wrong, that would be awesome, but I didn't think it fit. Don't worry, her character begins to differ as the movie progresses.

I thought (hoped) that Mary Lynn Rajskub (24) would have played a bigger part as the magazine editor, but the part she did bring to the table was perfect. In the end, I hoped for a little more screen time for her, but she was fantastic nonetheless!

Mark Duplass' Kenneth was great. He was like a little smarter, more together version of Napoleon Dynamite. I kind of envision him as a "plays Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh! in the cafeteria" kind of guy, and I was not disappointed. I spent the entire film wondering whether or not he was a genius or a complete nut-job, and I'm still not sure I know for certain. I can tell, however, that the director and writer intended it that way, and I loved it!

One of my personal highlights of the film is Jeff, the reporter. At the beginning, all signs point to this guy being a huge scumbag. He uses this business trip to visit an ex-girlfriend, has the interns do his work for him, and seems to be nothing more than a shallow individual. However, as the movie progresses, Jeff becomes more self-aware, and the redemption for his character is subtle but charming. I hated him at the beginning, but loved him by the end. Jake Johnson did a fantastic job.

Thoughts Pt. II (What I Didn't Like):

I've never been very good at eloquently stating what I don't like about a movie, and I often don't write reviews of films I don't like (or at least haven't in a good while). This film was good, I might even go so far as to say great, but at the end of the 86 minute film, I was only bugged by one thing (Well, one overarching thing).

I loved the ending, which wrapped up the stories well (enough) for both Kenneth and Darius, but I wanted to know more! I wanted to learn about Jeff's life, which seemed to be approached with a new perspective following the trip. I wanted to know more about Arnau in general. I want to know more about everything Kenneth and Darius did after the movie ended. Don't get me wrong, I loved the film, and the mark of a great storyteller is to leave you wanting more. So, in that vein, I say "Bravo"! Well done Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, and friends. You left me wanting oh-so-much more. But in that same line of thought, with an 86 minute movie, you have at least 20 minutes to play with before your film becomes "kinda long". So I'm glad I was left wanting more, but I think the writer and director could've granted it within reason.

In Conclusion:

This film is great. It isn't for kids, and the R rating obviously comes from the 2 (or 3, or 4...I can't remember) F-bombs dropped throughout, but aside from that is really pretty tame. If you were to subtract the aforementioned F-bombs, it would be an easy PG-13. I really enjoyed it. It's simple, fun, thought provoking, and funny. Plaza, Duplass, and Johnson really shine, and Rajskub and the other supporting players really fit well. Ultimately, if you have 86 minutes to kill in between the Netflix Tv Series' that you watch, I'd recommend you use them for this! It isn't life changing, but it's well done!

Thanks so much for reading as always, folks. I'm still looking for new ideas, film recommendations, and ways to increase my readership. I appreciate my readers as always, and hope to keep feeding the blog soon. Please, please, PLEASE send me feedback, via comment, facebook, twitter, anything, and I'd also encourage you to subscribe via RSS if you want to be updated via email when I update the blog! I want to hear your ideas for this blog, too! A blog is nothing without its readers! Thanks guys! God bless!!