Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) Review

A lot of people have recommended this to me and I just watched it without any knowledge of the film, hadn’t even seen a trailer. The film is weird and I really liked it, it’s something I can imagine seeing again really soon. The story is great in how it studies going back in time to resolve issues in our past, because who doesn’t regret some decisions. Great performances and chemistry from the cast and a perfect choice in picking Aubrey Plaza she’s perfect for this part and I hope she gets more roles in the future. The film has funny and smart dialogue with some real laughs and wonderfully diverse characters which are really fleshed out. The Sci-Fi aspects are quite fun as well as you get this toss around of is he crazy or is he actually building a working time machine and you just don’t know until the end.

Safety Not Guaranteed - Banner

From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine – When an unusual classified ad inspires three cynical Seattle magazine employees to look for the story behind it, they discover a mysterious eccentric named Kenneth, a likable but paranoid supermarket clerk, who believes he’s solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon. Together, they embark on a hilarious, smart, and unexpectedly heartfelt journey that reveals how far believing can take you.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended

Story: 85%       Acting: 90%      Characters: 90%      Dialogue: 85%

Drama/Comedy: 75%      Style/Sound: 70%      Visuals: 70%

Total: 81%

Safety Not Guaranteed - Poster

The story is smart and funny but focuses a lot more on its characters and their histories, I think this really worked because we got to understand their reasons for being there. First we have Darius who wants to save her mum from dying. She blamed herself and clearly wants to change this horrible event in her past. We also get stories on the side such as Jeff who came to this town to find his first love and is trying to fight the mistake he made in his past of leaving her for a better job. The characters are really fleshed out and it makes for some interesting characters and you get very invested in how their characters’ lives play out. I am not sure if this is a wonderful script or great acting but I am guessing it’s a bit of both. The cast are really entertaining and I’d watch any of them again in a film but especially Aubrey Plaza.

Safety Not Guaranteed - Aubrey Plaza as Darius

The drama is great but I am a bigger fan of a drama/comedy hybrid and that’s what this film is. We get dramatic scenes that are funny and funny scenes that are dramatic, I find it very fun to watch. The style and sound was good but nothing that stands out and the same could be said for the visuals but they do have a wonderful way of teasing you at various points as to whether this time machine is real or not. For example we see him steal some lasers and scientific equipment from a research center  now from that I think yeah he really making it but then later we get a bit of his back story and I started doubting it again. Clever stuff, I like not knowing stuff and finding it all out in the end. It feels worthwhile when it’s a challenge.

Must Watch Trailer:

The best reviews I found would be these “Plaza and Duplass are enormously watchable, and there’s a sweet sadness in the movie’s focus on lost dreams and missed chances, and the truism that we all long for a time machine every once in a while” Tom Huddleston. “Safety Not Guaranteed” not only has dialogue that’s about something, but characters who have some depth and dimension” Roger Ebert. “The film is obviously low-budget but has a smart script and a real feeling for those who would like to turn back the clock. Its modesty on the whole becomes it, and Plaza is a real find” Derek Malcolm. “A low-concept film about time travel mightn’t sound like much of a trip, but first-time director Colin Trevorrow offers good-natured fun and real substance in place of shiny surfaces and whizz-bang effects” Stella Papamichael.

My favourite scene would have to be a weird one. When Darius and Kenneth first meet in the supermarket and he asks her “Have you ever faced certain death?” and she responds in the most deadpan and funniest possible way she says this “If it was so certain I wouldn’t be here, would I?” whilst placing a can on a shelf. Just something about it is so damn funny to me.

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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films!

39 responses to “Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) Review”

  1. sidekickreviews says :

    I watched this and it’s a great little movie. The ending surprised me and had me smiling. Plaza looks so familiar yet it’s her first film. I can see her in Emma Stone type roles but she doesn’t have the cuteness.


  2. Nostra says :

    Loved this movie, lots of fun…


  3. Morally Oblogatory says :

    Did you know that this movie is based off a real ad that was posted in the classifieds? I actually remember seeing the ad back in the 90’s on Jay Leno during one of his Headlines segments. I remember cracking up that someone would actually post such an off-the-wall ad. So when I saw the trailer for this movie I knew I had to go see it and sure enough when it came out in theaters I saw it right away. This is the feel good movie of the year and my personal fave of 2012. I also wrote a review. Stop by and check it out!

    Keep writing; I’ll keep reading!


  4. Erik says :

    Good review! It is a lovely little film. shame it was a bit overlooked….


  5. theipc says :

    My wife and I were both extremely bored with this until the last ten wicked ass minutes!


  6. sanclementejedi says :

    Great review Tim, this one caught me by surprise. I ended up really enjoying it and had a smile from ear to ear at the films conclusion. Also should be mentioned that it had my wife in tears.


  7. sati says :

    People keep recommending this movie to me too, it seems like one of those under the radar movies folks fall in love with. It’s on my watchlist and hopefully I’ll get around to seeing it soon.


  8. myreelpov says :

    Dont forget credit to Mark Duplass for just generally being ace 🙂 I loved this film – but i wanted to follow them in the end!!


  9. adlibitur90 says :

    I REEEAAAAALLLLYY wanna see this film, good review! xxx


  10. ruth says :

    Glad you liked this man! I too watched this without having seen a trailer until right before I started the movie. I was pleasantly surprised by it, it’s quirky but quite heartwarming as well. That ending certainly made you go WHOA!!


  11. atothewr says :

    I might have to check this one out – sounds good.


  12. barronlouise says :

    I know this film has been received positively, forward to seeing this, great review Tim 🙂


  13. Jack Flacco says :

    You had the same feelings I had about this movie. It struck me as weird at first but eventually I began to appreciate the nuances of the story. I’m eager to watch this again because there’s just so much in this movie, yet it appears simple on the surface.


  14. keith7198 says :

    Nice review! I’ve had one written up for this for a while now but haven’t yet posted it. Our takes are pretty similar.


  15. sidekickreviews says :

    I’ll keep my eye out for this movie. I’m down for a quirky drama comedy. 🙂


  16. CMrok93 says :

    Good review Tim. It wasn’t my favorite indie of last year, but it was still great to see Plaza work with a character that wasn’t her norm, which made it all the better. Everything else is good, it’s just not perfect, to say the least.


  17. Derek says :

    I really enjoyed this movie and hope that it will open the door for Plaza to get more movie work (as long as it doesn’t take her away from Parks & rec).


  18. MikesFilmTalk says :

    I saw a trailer for this ages ago on a rental DVD. I fell in love with the trailer immediately. I really wanted to see the film and then forgot all about it. Your review brought all that back and now I want to see it again! Great review mate!! 😀


  19. mistylayne says :

    Awesome write up! I haven’t seen yet but my friend watched recently and she dug it and told me about it.


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