Safety Not Guaranteed
|Safety Not Guaranteed|
|Directed by||Colin Trevorrow|
|Produced by||Derek Connolly |
|Written by||Derek Connolly|
|Starring||Aubrey Plaza |
|Music by||Ryan Miller|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||86 minutes|
Safety Not Guaranteed is a 2012 American comedy-drama film inspired by a 1997 Backwoods Home Magazine classified ad – written as a joke filler by Backwoods employee John Silveira – 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.
Darius Britt (Aubrey Plaza) is a disillusioned college graduate who lives at home with her widower father (Jeff Garlin) and interns at a Seattle magazine. One of the magazine's writers, Jeff Schwensen (Jake Johnson), proposes to investigate a newspaper classified ad that reads:
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 Darius and Arnau (Karan Soni), a studious biology major interning at the magazine to diversify his resume, to assist him. 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 (Kristen Bell) 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 Bridget, who has been following the notes on the story; she informs him that Belinda 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 is a 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.
- Aubrey Plaza as Darius Britt
- Mark Duplass as Kenneth Calloway
- Jake Johnson as Jeff Schwensen
- Karan Soni as Arnau
- Jenica Bergere as Liz
- Kristen Bell as Belinda
- Jeff Garlin as Mr. Britt (Darius' father)
- Mary Lynn Rajskub as Bridget
- William Hall, Jr. as Shannon
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. The film was shot on the Sony F3 using old Panavision lenses, which gave the film a desired "Hal Ashby look" for director Colin Trevorrow.
 Critical reception
Safety Not Guaranteed received critical acclaim with a 92% approval from 119 critics on Rotten Tomatoes—an average score of 7.6 out of 10—where the consensus reads: "Safety Not Guaranteed's ostensibly modest ambitions are outmatched by the movie's strong performances, beguiling charm, and heartfelt story." Metacritic gives the film a rating of 72% based on reviews from 31 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews.
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." Roger Ebert praises the film for the quality of the dialogue, characters with depth and dimension, as well as Mark Duplass for his balanced performance.
|ALMA Awards||Favorite Movie Actress Comedy/Musical||Aubrey Plaza||Won|
|Central Ohio Film Critics Association||Best Overlooked Film||2nd place|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Award||Most Promising Filmmaker||Colin Trevorrow||Nominated|
|Chlotrudis Awards||Best Actress||Aubrey Plaza||Pending|
|Best Original Screenplay||Derek Connolly||Pending|
|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|
|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|
|Sundance Film Festival||Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award||Derek Connolly||Won|
|Tel-Aviv International Fantastic Festival||Best Feature Film||Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly||Won|
|Young Hollywood Awards||Breakthrough Performance Award||Aubrey Plaza||Won|
- "Safety Not Guaranteed". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=safetynotguaranteed.htm. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
- "Safety Not Guaranteed". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/safety_not_guaranteed/.
- Stephen Holden (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, http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/movies/safety-not-guaranteed-a-comedy-with-a-time-machine.html, retrieved 2012-10-24
- Silveira, John. "The time-travel ad". Backwoods Home Magazine. Backwoods Home Magazine. http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/silveira125.html. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- "2012 Sundance Film Festival Announces Awards". sundance.org. January 28, 2012. https://www.sundance.org/press-center/release/2012-sundance-film-festival-awards/. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- Lowe, Rachel. "Movie Trailer: “Safety Not Guaranteed”". EntertainmentTell. www.technologytell.com. http://www.technologytell.com/entertainment/1097/movie-trailer-safety-not-guaranteed/. Retrieved 05/07/2012.
- Moira Macdonald (June 5, 2012). "'Safety Not Guaranteed' filmmaker finds inspiration in a classified ad — and in the Northwest". http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/movies/2018355531_trevorrow05.html. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- "Production Notes". SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED (official website)). http://safetynotguaranteedmovie.com/press.html. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- Ryland Aldrich (2012-10-14). "Tel-Aviv International Fantastic Festival Announces Winners | Twitch". Twitchfilm.com. http://twitchfilm.com/2012/10/tel-aviv-international-fantastic-festival-announces-winners.html. Retrieved 2012-12-23.