Safety Not Guaranteed

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Safety Not Guaranteed
SafetyNotGuaranteed.jpg
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Produced by Derek Connolly
Stephanie Langhoff
Peter Saraf
Colin Trevorrow
Marc Turtletaub
Written by Derek Connolly
Starring Aubrey Plaza
Mark Duplass
Jake Johnson
Karan Soni
Music by Ryan Miller
Cinematography Benjamin Kasulke
Production
company
Distributed by FilmDistrict
Release dates
  • January 22, 2012 (2012-01-22) (Sundance Film Festival)
  • June 8, 2012 (2012-06-08) (United States)
  • December 26, 2012 (2012-12-26) (United Kingdom)
Running time 85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $750,000[1]
Box office $4,424,699[2]

Safety Not Guaranteed is a 2012 American comedy film[3][4] directed by Colin Trevorrow and inspired by a 1997 Backwoods Home Magazine classified ad[5]—itself written as a joke filler by Backwoods employee John Silveira[5]—by a person asking for someone to accompany him in time travel. It was screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.[6]

Plot[edit]

Darius Britt (Aubrey Plaza) is a disillusioned college graduate who lives at home with her widower father (Jeff Garlin) and interns at Seattle Magazine. One of the magazine's writers, Jeff Schwensen (Jake Johnson), proposes to investigate a newspaper classified ad that reads:[7]

Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.

Jeff's story idea is approved by his boss, Bridget (Mary Lynn Rajskub). Jeff selects a team in the crassest manner possible – "All right. Give me the lesbian and the Indian, and I got a story"[8] – meaning Darius and Arnau (Karan Soni), the latter of whom is a studious biology major interning at the magazine to diversify his resume. They travel to the seaside community of Ocean View to find and profile the person behind the ad. Jeff later reveals an ulterior motive for this assignment: to track down a long-lost love interest who lives in the beach community.

Darius discovers that the person behind the ad is Kenneth Calloway (Mark Duplass), a stock clerk at a local grocery store. Jeff's attempt to contact Kenneth alienates Kenneth, so Jeff orders Darius to make contact. Darius' disaffected attitude serves her well, and she quickly endears herself to Kenneth as she poses as a candidate to accompany him on his mission. While Kenneth is paranoid and believes that "secret agents" are tracking his every move, Darius gains his trust as she participates in a series of training exercises in the woods around his house and begins to develop feelings for him. She tells Kenneth about the death of her mother when she was young and that her mission is to prevent it. Kenneth says his mission is to go back to 2001 and prevent the death of his old girlfriend Belinda, who was killed when someone drove a car into her house.

Meanwhile, Jeff tracks down Liz (Jenica Bergere), his fling from his teenage years; although she is not as attractive as his memories of her younger self, they reconnect. He asks her to come back with him to Seattle, but she believes this is just another fling for Jeff, so she refuses. Upset by her rejection, Jeff takes Arnau out on the town, and they pick up some young women. Jeff tells Arnau to not waste his youth and convinces him to spend the night with one of the young women.

The next morning, Jeff receives a phone call from his boss at the magazine, Bridget, who has been following the notes on the story; she informs him that Belinda (Kristen Bell) is still alive. During an interview with Belinda, Darius learns Belinda was only friends with Kenneth and that Kenneth had driven into her then-boyfriend's house, but no one was injured. After the interview, Darius is questioned by two government agents who have been following Kenneth and believe that he may be a spy because of his communication with government scientists.

Darius returns to Kenneth's house to confront him about Belinda. Kenneth claims, if Belinda is alive, that means his time traveling must have worked. Jeff then comes in to warn them that the government agents are also on the property. Kenneth panics and runs into the woods. Darius follows him and finds Kenneth has boarded his time machine, which has been integrated into a small boat. Darius apologizes for lying to Kenneth, tells him everything else they shared was real, and joins him on the time machine. Kenneth tells Darius that his mission has been updated, saying he now wants to go back for her. As Jeff, Arnau and the two government agents watch, Kenneth activates the time machine and it disappears, along with him and Darius.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was shot in Seattle and Ocean Shores, Washington, and other locations within 30 miles of Seattle. It is also partially set in Seattle.[9] The film was shot with a Sony F3 camera using old Panavision lenses, which gave the film a desired "Hal Ashby look" for director Colin Trevorrow.[10] Production budget was reported by The Film Collaborative to be $750,000.[1] Duplass and his brother Jay received Executive Producer credit.

Critical reception[edit]

Safety Not Guaranteed received critical acclaim and has a "certified fresh" score of 91% based on 137 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 7.4 out of 10. The critical consensus states: "Safety Not Guaranteed's ostensibly modest ambitions are outmatched by the movie's strong performances, beguiling charm, and heartfelt story."[3] The film also has a score of 72 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 31 critics indicating 'generally favourable reviews.'[11]

Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote that the story's shenanigans are "harnessed to a plaintive underlying theme about the fading dreams of those aspiring professionals in their 20s and 30s."[4] Roger Ebert praised the film for the quality of the dialogue, characters with depth and dimension, as well as Mark Duplass for his balanced performance.[12]

Awards[edit]

List of awards and nominations for Safety Not Guaranteed
Award Category Nominees Result
ALMA Awards Favorite Movie Actress Comedy/Musical Aubrey Plaza Won
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Best Overlooked Film Runner-up[13]
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Most Promising Filmmaker Colin Trevorrow Nominated
Gotham Independent Film Awards Best Ensemble Performance Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere, Kristen Bell, Jeff Garlin, Mary Lynn Rajskub Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best First Feature Colin Trevorrow Nominated
Best First Screenplay Derek Connolly Won
Indiana Film Critics Association Best Film Won
Best Original Screenplay Derek Connolly Won
Leiden International Film Festival Iron Herring: Best Feature Film Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly Won[14]
Phoenix Film Critics Society The Overlooked Film of the Year Won
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Best Actress Aubrey Plaza Nominated
Best Arthouse or Festival Film Won
(tied with Compliance)
Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Colin Trevorrow Nominated
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award Derek Connolly Won
Tel-Aviv International Fantastic Festival Best Feature Film[15] Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly Won
Young Hollywood Awards Breakthrough Performance Award Aubrey Plaza Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Glick, Brian. "How did the Sundance 2012 narrative films fare?". News item. The Film Collaborative. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "Safety Not Guaranteed". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  3. ^ a b "Safety Not Guaranteed". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Holden, Stephen (June 7, 2012), "Looking for Themselves in Fading Dreams From the Past and Present, Safety Not Guaranteed, a Comedy With a Time Machine", The New York Times, retrieved 2012-10-24 
  5. ^ a b Silveira, John. "The time-travel ad". Backwoods Home Magazine. Backwoods Home Magazine. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  6. ^ "2012 Sundance Film Festival Announces Awards". sundance.org. January 28, 2012. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ Lowe, Rachel. "Movie Trailer: "Safety Not Guaranteed"". EntertainmentTell. www.technologytell.com. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  8. ^ Connolly, Derek (2012). "Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) Movie Script". Springfield! Springfield!. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  9. ^ Macdonald, Moira (June 5, 2012). "'Safety Not Guaranteed' filmmaker finds inspiration in a classified ad—and in the Northwest". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  10. ^ "Production Notes". SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED (official website). Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  11. ^ "Safety Not Guaranteed Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (2012-06-13). "Safety Not Guaranteed :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  13. ^ "Awards: 2012". Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA). 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  14. ^ http://www.cinema.nl/artikelen/9490283/safety-not-guaranteed-wint-in-leiden
  15. ^ Ryland Aldrich (2012-10-14). "Tel-Aviv International Fantastic Festival Announces Winners | Twitch". Twitchfilm.com. Retrieved 2012-12-23. 

External links[edit]