For Reel

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
July 24, 2012, 1:00 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Former Saturday Night Live interns Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly took inspiration from an infamous classified ad in which a man sought a partner to travel back in time with in the screenplay for Safety Not Guranteed, a shaggy-dog comedy starring Parks & Recreation star Aubrey Plaza in her first leading role. While she carries over the snark that audiences have become accustomed to, she gradually (in a welcome turn) becomes emotionally accessible as the lovable loser played by Mark Duplass breaks down her defenses. Writing a fairly straight-forward love story out of the material is perhaps misguided – Duplass’ character, no matter his intentions or presumed brilliance, reads as particularly unstable, and as such it becomes a disappointment that his psychological issues ultimately play out as little more than personality quirks. Duplass, who has been busy this year both behind and on camera, is perhaps too handsome and naturally personable to pull off such an outcast. He isn’t entirely convincing in the early-goings, in which he is wrought to be an over-confident buffoon in the vein of Napoleon Dynamite or Dwight Schrute. Trevvorow and Connolly, however, are on to something with their theme of characters desperate to relive their pasts and, in the process, finding little happiness in the future. Jake M. Johnson, of TV’s The New Girl, is a surprising delight as crude journalist who hasn’t emotionally developed since graduating high school.

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