The Kidd Vs. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is the type of movie that reminds you why you love movies in the first place. It doesn’t dumb itself down. It doesn’t rely on mindless explosions to distract you from any glaring plot holes. It uses special effects only when necessary, to forward the story, not because it can. But, most importantly, it relies entirely on a unique story, interesting characters, smart dialogue and some real heart to draw you in and deliver a satisfying experience at the movies. It’s a shame more movies like this don’t come our way more frequently, because SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED calls upon you to invest in the world it creates and then doesn’t cheat you. It delivers on that investment with something you can emotionally connect to. It gives you a story about love and regret, about hope and loss… It helps you strive to live in the moment, not in the past. It shows that those we might consider strange or bizarre or outsiders can be even more interesting in trying to find some special connection in this world as the likes of Reese Witherspoon or Katherine Heigl or James Marsden. (Why do they all wind up in those same roles?) And it does so simply by introducing an ad in a small town newspaper for someone looking for a time traveling partner.
When pitching story ideas for the magazine he writes for, Jeff (Jake Johnson) is able to sell the idea of investigating this ad – who wrote it, whether or not they’re serious, etc. He plucks Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni) – known to him as “the lesbian and the Indian” – as interns to help with the article and, armed with ulterior motives of finding an old fling, Jeff heads up to Oceanview, Washington with his crew to learn who is on the other end of the ad. What they find is Kenneth Calloway (Mark Duplass), a clerk at a grocery store who’s “not retarded, but definitely something wrong with him.” He believes he’s being followed. He’s paranoid that he’s being recorded, and it’s going to take a certain level of trust to be taken seriously as a candidate for his time-bending trip. Jeff’s smart-ass and douchey demeanor isn’t going to get it done, and neither is the shy Indian kid… so leave it to Plaza’s womanly charms and off-the-cuff wittiness to help break down some of Kenneth’s walls. Then we’re off to find out how committed Kenneth is to his mission, which is one of correcting regrets and mistakes and love, with Darius the driving force that gets us closer and closer to finding out what is real in this scenario and what isn’t.
The humor of SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED rests with Johnson and Soni’s relationship as the older guy trying to push his young intern beyond his comfort level. “You only live once” and “You’re only young once” seem to be wise advice from a guy who wishes he could still be stuck in a particular time and place. It’s one of those “if he only knew then what he knows now” predicaments, and there’s a bit of sadness to this guy, only in his 30s, who is so afraid of growing up, because it means leaving behind those wild and crazy days. But there’s a genuine concern between the teacher and his student here, where life lessons can be doled out not in a deep philosophical sense, but more along the lines of not waste the opportunities presented to you because you never know when, or if, they may surface again… and that includes going out and getting drunk and getting laid and having fun as opposed to being wound so tightly that you never really experience life.
As fascinating as that dynamic is on the periphery, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is as good as it is due to the charming interactions between Duplass and Plaza. Plaza plays a very troubled, very sad, sort of down type of girl. Even in her beautiful appearance, she’s the type of girl who wouldn’t get approached at a party or doesn’t have many friends, because you just sense the cloud that rests over her entire life. She’s dealt with some shit in her life, which is the reason for her melancholy state, but it’s not until she comes into contact with the wild Duplass here that she’s able to break out of that shell. There’s a special bond that exists between them at the very outset, and it only continues to get stronger as they get deeper into their mission preparation.
Is Kenneth a strange dude? Absolutely. If not some somewhat understanding fellow employees that allow him to have a job, there’s a fine line keeping Kenneth from becoming weird homeless guy who reeks of urine and spouts his conspiracy theories and madness drunkenly at passerbys. There’s also a pure honesty to him, the type that could resides within a man who truly believes time travel is not only possible, but that he can do it. Therefore, it’s not far-fetched at all for Darius and Kenneth to develop trust and affection for one another as a result of their heartfelt exchanges. They both may be a bit understood, but they certainly understand each other.
You don’t have to “turn your brain off,” whatever the fuck that means, for SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED. In fact, you should keep it turned up to its highest level in order to fully grasp everything that’s going on here. Also, keep your heart turned on, your eyes opened and whatever else you may need to keep handy in order to fully appreciate a movie of this nature. This is the type of movie that reminds you why you love to watch them. This is flat-out one good story.
"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"
Follow me on Twitter.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
+ Expand All
June 22, 2012, 6:04 p.m. CST
June 22, 2012, 6:09 p.m. CST
Or if that would even apply to an actual or joke advert.
June 22, 2012, 6:19 p.m. CST
The mulletman, the ad, and "Push it to the Limit." I put them together one night, and before I knew it, the thing went viral. Pretty awesome. I contacted the director via FB and he didn't respond. Just giving them my blessings. As far as rights? It really depends on the plot of the movie, I guess. It would have been cool to go to the premiere!
June 22, 2012, 6:37 p.m. CST
THANKKKK YOOOUUUU! that is by far the worst thing to say about a movie, and is essentially Harry's GO TO line and method for watching a movie.
June 22, 2012, 7:43 p.m. CST
and that's a crying shame. It's too smart for summer.
June 22, 2012, 8:04 p.m. CST
I don't turn my brain off to see certain movies. The movies themselves seem to flick my switch to 'OFF' though.
June 22, 2012, 8:05 p.m. CST
Love Mark Duplass, feel kinda eh about Plaza, I was rooting for her. Really was excited to see this film, but the dialogue, I'm sorry, was brutal. The character relationships were completely unrealistic and over the top and Plaza and Duplass had absolutely no chemistry. The worst part of the lo-budget was a scene with them at a fire where it was clearly lit so poorly that they had to crank the mids to get some usable footage. They both looked like clowns with white makeup and dark red lips. Then you have him singing a ridiculous song, with a ridiculous instrument, it all ended up looking like bad Kabuki theater.
June 22, 2012, 8:44 p.m. CST
Loved the film, Plaza is great in it even though she's basically playing April (From Parks and Recreation) again. I did have one major problem with the film. *Spoilers* The federal agents who don't do anything. The last 15 minutes or so they just seem to run around, and then do absolutely nothing to stop or slow down whats happening, its absurd
June 22, 2012, 9:13 p.m. CST
Kidd, an example of "turning your brain off" is what you seem to do before you sit down to type out a review. Hope this helps.
June 22, 2012, 9:19 p.m. CST
by Toe Jam
It was great. And fuck charlie_mcfarley. Nobody but you gives a shit about lighting and "cranking the mids." Stop pretending you're a goddamn DP. Plaza and Duplass definitely had chemistry, the dialogue was fine, and the singing scene was genuinely touching and emotional. You are wrong on every single count. Movies like this deserve our collective support.
June 22, 2012, 9:33 p.m. CST
by Toe Jam
Why would the makers of this film want or need your blessings? You didn't write the original ad. (I won't spoil who did, but it's easy to read up on it.) It's been floating around the Internet for about 15 years now. It was popular long before you decided to add a photo and song, which only destroyed the mystique and subtle brilliance of the original. Sorry if I come off like a malcontent, but I get really annoyed by trolls on these boards who boast about shit like that and expect a high-five or something. And to think the filmmakers owe you anything? The gall ...
June 22, 2012, 9:38 p.m. CST
by raging bullshitter
Ever since i saw her on the tonight show, she was really rude, unfunny, and just a dumb bitch. She cant act to save her life, no one has caught on yet that she never actually plays a charecter? She is the exact same person in every film she ruins.
June 22, 2012, 9:41 p.m. CST
by Erotic Oven
You sound malcontent.
June 22, 2012, 11:12 p.m. CST
You must live in Bizarro world. Every opinion you offer is the opposite of mine. I absolutely LOVED the dialogue within the first 3 minutes, and remarked on how honest and original it was to my wife. They did have chemistry, and I actually cared about what happened to both of them. I have an eye for detail, but didn't notice any pixelation or gain issues during the fire scene, and found the song to be incredibly well done. Anyone reading this... go see this movie. It's very well done, and totally worth your time.
June 23, 2012, 12:33 a.m. CST
I think her talk show appearances are funny as heck, she holds her own with the top smart asses. Unique style and she's just fascinating to watch with those cat eyes.
June 23, 2012, 1:38 a.m. CST
by johndalf greymane
WHO is the mullet man? The movie intrigues me. The only thing Ive read that worries me is the use of "special effects," hopefully its a dream or fantasy sequence... I think I might be disappointed if there was actual time travel happening.
June 23, 2012, 8:16 a.m. CST
He lives on Drury Lane.
June 23, 2012, 8:25 a.m. CST
+1 internets for you.
June 23, 2012, 8:28 a.m. CST
So damn hot and funny as hell
June 23, 2012, 8:55 a.m. CST
Your reply was either self-deprecating meta genius...or you just proved the Kidd's point. Either way, your 'off' switch seems to be working.
June 23, 2012, 4:59 p.m. CST
sometimes me and the critics split
June 23, 2012, 8:19 p.m. CST
June 23, 2012, 8:19 p.m. CST
June 23, 2012, 8:21 p.m. CST
ya mean, this ISN'T hipster trash?
June 24, 2012, 4:52 p.m. CST
Why do internet fanboys find the ugliest women on tv and film hot, pretty, or whatever? First it was Janeane Garofelo, Nicole Kidman, and Keira Knightly. Then it became Tina Fey, Kristen Stewart and now its Plaza. To those with jobs or whomever leaves the house, please take a look around at the various women that might cross your paths. Now being truthful, whom do you really wanna bang and who do you find hotter? The less that attractive girl like Plaza or the pretty girl at work? Which one of those types of chicks do you check out the most? The pretty one or the ugly girl who looks like Plaza? I have to ask this. Has the prospect of not scoring with a real woman made these hags seem above average to some fanboys?
June 24, 2012, 6:25 p.m. CST
June 24, 2012, 9:03 p.m. CST
Don't even look at the trailers, just go see it without knowing anything about it. It's quirky, funny, charming, poignant and sweet. Maybe I'm at that age when I can really appreciate the theme of the movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
June 24, 2012, 9:05 p.m. CST
I definitely fell for her and her performance in this movie. She's got a real promising future ahead of her in the movies...
June 25, 2012, 2:37 a.m. CST
Didn't buy the chemistry between the two leads, and Plaza seems to think that all she has to do to imply chemistry is to stare and smile. Its the kind of thing that a bad actress in a rom com does, but for some reason Plaza gets away with it, perhaps because of some perceived indie cred. For the record I'm not 100% sure that this is her fault. The director and writer most likely directed her to act this way. And she acquits herself well when she's not pretending like she gives a fuck at all about this dude. I also highly enjoyed the subplots of the film and found Duplass to be endearing. But because so much of the movie hinges on the love story, it fell short for me. I'd give it a 6.5 or 7 out of 10.
June 25, 2012, 2:26 p.m. CST
You had a point, up until when you started claiming you work and live around a lot of women who make Nicole Kidman, Keira Knightly and Kristen Stewart look ugly. Either you work in a modeling agency or you're upset that they don't look more like Channing Tatum.
June 25, 2012, 2:35 p.m. CST
Being a geek, I think the tendency of geek culture to develop group crushes on starlets like Plaza to be a function of the real-world love lives of geeks. I myself find that the women I find most attractive are always what would be considered a 5-7 on the 10-point misogynist scale of female meat. To be an 8 or a 9, women have to put in a ton of work, which usually means that they have very little to talk about beyond fashion, as being that hot doesn't usually leave a lot of room for anything else- they spend their lives primping and being complimented or hit on. I usually find women who are extremely attractive to be very boring. Furthermore, we geeks get acclimated to abuse from extremely attractive women during the gladiatorial gauntlet we call American high school. Of course, all of this is very generalized, I'm sure there are some fantasticaly interesting 9s and 10s out there who are sweet and kind even to hunched-back troglodytes like me- but my own experiences from my single life lead me to be cautious of the beautiful, and to naturally prefer the average-looking female (plaza passing for the high-end of Hollywood's version of average-looking).
July 4, 2012, 5:23 p.m. CST
by Jim Henson
Great work by everyone in the film. Not a false note with any of the actors. The ending was a little bit of a letdown -- I'm not sure what could have been different, but I was just expecting more closure than the ending offered.
Aug. 5, 2012, 12:03 p.m. CST
by Ninja Nerd
I live in a town where none of the local theatres will show anything that won't pack the seats with mindless "ohh look, shit blew up!" dreck. FINALLY got to see SNG last night at a local museum's cinema; 4 showings, 2 nights only. Jesus wept...I love this movie. Pitch perfect. The ending was fine. They could have gone several different ways, but I like the choice that was made. "The mission plan has changed..." and the look between Plaza and Duplass was exactly the way to go. See it. Love it. Remember the little things like the gift to the co-worker at the grocery store, the partygoers at the laser plant, and many more, and smile in your heart.
- That rumor about Sony selling SPIDER-MAN? Don't you believe it for a second! -- 390 total posts 214 posts
- Holy Crossover!! Magneto’s Boy Quicksilver To Be In Whedon’s AVENGERS 2 And Singer’s X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST?? -- 191 total posts 191 posts
- Papa Vinyard thinks that HANGOVER: PART III was a paycheck grab for a buncha people who are already rich!! -- 172 total posts 172 posts
- The METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER Teaser! -- 183 total posts 117 posts
- New MAN OF STEEL trailer makes me happy that Superman has severe red eye!!! -- 785 total posts 113 posts
- Next on the Reboot assemblyline? TIMECOP!! -- 141 total posts 97 posts
- Sandler, Piss, Barf, And Hayek Grace The New GROWN UPS 2 Trailer!! -- 89 total posts 89 posts
- Green-Band and Red-Band trailers for the new Jason Sudeikis & Jennifer Aniston VACATION ripoff, WE'RE THE MILLERS are here!! -- 83 total posts 83 posts
- Seems Coppola Is Gearing Up For A New Italian-American Epic!? -- 70 total posts 70 posts
- We have some new details on the POLTERGEIST remake/reboot/sequel!! -- 205 total posts 55 posts