Screening Room: Safety Not Guaranteed

(KTSF by Sean Au)

What would you do if you saw an ad in a magazine asking for a time traveling companion?

In an editorial meeting of a Seattle magazine, a reporter Jeff (Jake Johnson) proposes investigating what is behind an ad that somebody posted, asking for someone to go back in time with. You are to bring your own weapons, safety not guaranteed. Jeff takes two interns to a Seattle suburb and the trio track down a supermarket staffer, Kenneth (Mark Duplass), as the person who posted the ad. Intern Darius (Aubrey Plaza) wins the trust of Kenneth and the two of them begin to prepare and train for the mission to go back in time. As Kenneth nears completion of his time machine, he is also under surveillance by the FBI. Will his quest to time travel come to fruition?

“Safety Not Guaranteed” is inspired by a real ad some fifteen years ago, written to fill ad space. This re-imagining of the story behind the ad picked up the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. One thoroughly enjoyable scene illustrates the humor and sharp dialogue that the screenwriter employs in the script:

Darius: “Do you sell guns here? Something sexy, affordable, with killing power?”

Kenneth: “Is there a past problem?”

Darius: “If your ad had been written properly, I may have a better idea of what I need. I hope you work harder on your calibrations.”

Kenneth: “My calibrations are flipping pinpoint. You have faced certain death?”

Darius: “If it was so certain, I wouldn’t be here, would I?”

The movie meditates on the fascination and romanticism of the past that many among us own. What may have started out as a sci-fi premise for a movie, now shifts our focus to the interaction and developing mutual attraction between the intern and that guy in the supermarket who has always seemed a little odd. You now have a love story.

“If you walk away with anything,” says Director Colin Trevorrow. “It is: look, we are all a little crazy, so find the person who is crazy like you, and march through time with them.”

The sincere and engaging portrayals by the two leads, bring these quirky characters closer to us, making it a heart-warming ride should you choose to embark on this time travel journey.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Video courtesy of Film District.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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