Safety not Guaranteed

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel. (IMDB)

Writer:  Derek Connolly
Director:  Colin Trevorrow
Stars:  Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson and Mark Duplass
Runtime: 86 Minutes
Popcorn Score:  Large Popcorn

Sometimes a theater going experience provides more than just a seat in a theater and a good (or bad) movie.  During my screening of “Safety not Guaranteed” this was certainly the case.  Enjoying the confines of the Laurelhust Theater and Pub on my vacation to Portland OR., my girlfriend and I eased back into our comfy, above average movie theater seats with a small popcorn and a cold, draft micro beer in hand.  Taking advantage of combo #1 – 1 Beer and a small popcorn for $6.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that the ticket price is a modest $3 at this gem of a 2nd run theater.

The Laurelhurst in Portland is one of many cool/hybrid theaters with luxuries unknown to most people in different major cities.  They have a booming and I would imagine competitive movie theater market which provides creation for imaginative ways to get people to the theater.  Simple ideas like adding a bar and local pizza along with other atypical movie snacks is something that the Laurelhurst is doing, but theaters like Living Room Theaters, that offer luxury theaters with a homey feel inside and a European café and lounge in the lobby,  and the Kennedy School Theater which offers discounted movies along with a full bar and menu while relaxing on a love seat from old Elementary school gyms and theaters, are a couple of other examples of outside the multiplex thinking that Portland is doing.  It would be great if more cities could start making the movie going experience worth it again!

Fortunately, the amenities and treats at the Laurelhurst did not overshadow the movie that I went to the theater for.  “Safety not Guaranteed” is a movie that reaches far beyond the expectations of an indie comedy that has the premise of time travel.  The movie follows three employees at a Seattle Magazine in their attempt to put a story together on a man who posted a classified add about time travel.  His add says:

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.  SAFTEY NOT GUARANTEED.

The three that track down the time traveler are Jeff (Jake Johnson), the senior writer who is a bit of a hack, a funny hack, and the two interns Darius(Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau.  They quickly find their subject Kenneth (Mark Duplass) and Darius, the cute, quirky intern has more luck infiltrating the time travel plans than the abrupt Jeff, so she takes the lead on the story.

Kenneth quickly intrigues and perhaps is even awe-inspiring to Darius because he is unwavering in his belief that this mission is legit.  He is also driven by the haunted history of his parents passing long before their time.  The movie is soft in all of the right spots while keeping a light overtone throughout the entire film.  Much of the time while Kenneth and Darius are building their relationship and preparing for the mission, Jeff and Arnau are off learning more about themselves in heartfelt and often hilarious ways.  All of the characters are people that we learn to like, and enjoy because they are complete and entertaining.

Mark Duplass is enjoyable as the actor with the hardest assignment in the movie.  He has to be able to balance the possible insanity of his character while still seeming real and likeable.  He showed some true chops, which is a relief after seeing him be the casual, funny, and (I find annoyingly) charming guy again and again in “Your Sister’s Sister”, “The League” and “The Puffy Chair”.  I am still on the fence with him as an actor/director.  I quite enjoyed his work behind the camera in “Jeff, Who Lives at Home”The movie finishes strongly and completes the enjoyable experience throughout.  Definitely a movie worth getting your hands on and checking out.

Large Popcorn

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