Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Safety Not Guaranteed</strong> (2012)

(On Cable TV, February 2014) For decades, the horror genre has thrived on genre ambiguity: Are there truly supernatural horrors out there, or is it all taking place in the person’ mind? Now here we have a science-fictional example of that tension between fantasy and reality, as a trio of journalists descend upon a small town to assess the craziness of a man who has posted a classified ad asking for a time-travel companion. True to its low-budget mumblecore inspirations, Safety Not Guaranteed is a low-energy affair, meandering and contemplative as a young female intern befriends an eccentric man convinced that he’s about to travel back in time. Is he insane? The film’s conclusion settles the question definitively, but it’s the journey that matters more than the answer. Safety Not Guaranteed‘s biggest asset is the unconventional charm of Aubrey Plaza as a disaffected young cynic: Her performance more than overshadows Mark Duplass as the would-be time-traveler. Otherwise, it’s all low-key until the end, with half-hearted attempts at a thriller not really registering against the off-beat romance at the heart of the script. The conclusion, as obvious as it may be, comes as a bit of a disappointment. Still, Safety Not Guaranteed remains a quirky film, and one that goes by easily.

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