Film Review: Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Time travel has never been more awkward

Time travel movies are dime a dozen. Most of them pretty much suck, but I love the concept, so I watch all I can get.

Back to the future? watched the trilogy countless times, and still enjoy it.

“Safety Not Guaranteed” is a small indie movie, with a budget that’s estimated at 750,000 dollars. It’s still a very big budget for a indie movie, but it’s justified.

The story revolves around this ad that was put in the newspaper, which, as you can see from the movie poster, invites people to apply for the position of co-time traveler. The whole movie is actually based on this actual ad that was posted by John Silveira on Backwoods home magazine back in 1997. The ad was a filler for the classifieds section – meant simply to plug a hole in mid page. But it took a life of its own.

Now you can compare between the two

In actuality, it was the opening lines of an unfinished novel John Silveira wrote a few years before. He figured he’ll get a few responses and that would be that. He was wrong.

He got thousands and they still keep coming as the ad keeps circulating over the world wide web with the same P.O. box. He tells that he got responses from all states of America , as well as every country imaginable. Sometimes, people would re-publish his ad on the net with a different P.O. box or address or claiming it their own. He’s still the only one with a key to P.O. Box 322.

Back to the matter in hand – the movie.

After going viral, and becoming an internet phenomena for several years, the story finally became a screenplay and was produced into a indie (Independent) film.

The movie follows the crew of a magazine as they track down the person behind the ad in order to write a story and expose what’s behind it.

Jake Johnson is Jeff, the jaded reporter (and also one of “New girl” co-stars) that takes the two interns Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni) on a road trip to the town where the mailbox is.

Their course of action begins with stalking the P.O. Box until the find out who’s collecting the letters from the mysterious mailbox and then follow him and make contact.

After initial attempt by Jeff is unsuccessful, He sends in Darius who is an introverted outsider-ish girl that fits perfectly with the suspicious minded Kenneth (Mark Duplass) who turns out to be the person who put up the ad.

The story goes on, and you don’t really find out if it’s the genuine article or just a nut job until the very end of the film.

The acting is pretty decent, though indications of the low budget of the film (in comparison with big budget tv or cinema productions we’re used to) do pop up occasionally.

But the story is solid, following several story lines in parallel, and leaving you interested to find out what’s the conclusion right up til the end.

It’s a bit difficult to put a label on the genre it really belong to (other than time-travel related films), but I would say it’s pretty much a dramedy.

It also strives to get people to see that you cannot judge a person by initial appearance as is so common these days. People are complicated and have multiple facets to consider.

All in all, I warmly recommend it for watching, but don’t expect a fast paced plot, even though there are a few exciting moments within it.

Enjoy! and leave a comment, like or +1 if you liked my review

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