Safety Not Guaranteed Blu-ray Review
On the surface, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is about a reporter and two interns that investigate a guy claiming he can travel through time. But boiling down director Colin Trevorrow’s fourth directorial effort to that simple premise isn’t fair to the film. It’s also a movie about accepting who you are, overcoming your past and believing in yourself. And yeah, it’s also about a weird guy that thinks he can travel through time.
Jeff (Jake Johnson) is a reporter working for a magazine in Seattle. He takes two interns, Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni) with him as he investigates a man, Kenneth (Mark Duplass), that has taken out a classified ad looking for someone to travel back in time with him. In reality, Jeff doesn’t care so much about the story as he does with trying to hook up with his high school sweetheart. Darius is an outcast that doesn’t really want to be there, but finds the guy with the ad interesting, while Arnau is just along for the ride.
There are plenty of great things in SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, but one of the best aspects of the film is the way in which each character reveals more things about themselves as the movie progresses. Darius is the one that makes contact with Kenneth and even though it’s under false pretenses (she doesn’t tell him she’s a reporter), she ends up confiding private things to him to gain his trust, making their connection that much more powerful. Jeff is also on a self-discovery journey as his goal of sleeping with his high school girlfriend changes when he realizes what a great woman she’s turned out to be. It’s a joy to follow along with the film as the characters progress and all the while, we’re asking ourselves if Kenneth can really travel through time.
The film is helped immensely from great performances from the entire cast, especially Aubrey Plaza. I’m not sure how much range Aubrey Plaza has as an actress or how much staying power she has, but she’s great at the niche character she’s carved out for herself. She reminds me of Michael Cera in that she basically plays the same character in each film, but I like that character so much that I don’t mind. Darius is essentially a clone of April Ludgate from ‘Parks and Recreation’, but Aubrey Plaza is so likeable and interesting in the role that it’s hard to complain about it. While certain aspects of SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED don’t always work, Plaza’s performance and charm carry the film and keep us interested the entire time.
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is a quirky film that surprised me with how well it was able to establish its characters and create a story the audience could get behind. I liked that it teetered on the line between fantasy and reality, leaving it unanswered all the way until the very end. Add in a charming Aubrey Plaza and SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is a quality little film that pleases on all accounts.
Video: SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED looks fine on Blu-ray, although the film quality originally isn’t great. The transfer struggles with some of the black levels, especially in scenes that are nearly all black (like when Kenneth breaks into the research center), but overall, the film looks fine.
Audio: The audio is also fine.
A Movie Making Mission (15:16):An interesting behind-the-scenes featurette that includes interviews from the cast and crew. Although there are a lot of clips from the film, there’s some nice behind-the-scenes footage as well. An interesting watch, but nothing too different from a typical “making of” featurette. With that said, it was fairly interesting to watch and is short enough that if you enjoyed the film it’s worth viewing.
The Ad Behind the Movie (2:18):This is a bit about the ad that the film is based on, which was written by John Silveira the author of the novel and ad writer. It was an actual ad that was ran in a newspaper so this was fun to watch.