Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed



The people who went to see “Total Recall” really missed the boat. The best sci-fi suspense film of the summer is actually “Safety Not Guaranteed.”

To be fair, I didn’t see the Colin Farrell “Total Recall” remake. So I can’t tell you for certain that it is as dumb as it looks or that it is inferior to the awesome 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger version. I am going to state – unequivocally – that the new “Total Recall” is less wonderful than “Safety Not Guaranteed.”

“Safety Not Guaranteed” combines the intelligence and rich characterization of an independent movie and the unbridled imagination and excitement of a mainstream sci-fi movie into one joyful, witty, fast-paced 85 minute package.

The premise is original, intriguing, and elegantly simple. Some kook from a small coastal Washington town publishes a classified ad. It reads:

‘Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed.’

As anyone who has advertised in the Washington World knows: ads get results.

A Seattle investigative reporter and his two interns head to the coast to do a story about the time traveler.

Actually, the reporter himself is there just to reconnect with an old girlfriend. One of his interns takes the story seriously, though. Darius (Aubrey Plaza) poses as an interested party and goes undercover to learn about the crazy man behind the crazy ad.

Kenneth (Mark Duplass) is pretty much what Darius expected. She learns that he is a nerdy, paranoid loner. But she also learns that he is fun and interesting. Darius has a great time getting to know Kenneth and training for their dangerous mission together.

Kenneth turns out to be a more exciting guy than Darius expected. She agrees to drive the getaway car as he steals a laser from a research lab. She learns from the Federal Agents that are following Kenneth that this isn’t the first time he has stolen high-tech government equipment.

“Safety Not Guaranteed” is essentially a love story about two lonely people finding each other. But what drives the story is the sci-fi mystery. Is Kenneth a time traveler? Is he a delusional liar? Or both?

It was certainly a juicy enough mystery to keep me entertained and engaged the whole time. And I’m pleased to report that the movie delivers on its promise.

“Safety Not Guaranteed” has a perfect, over the top, happy ending. It’s a real crowd-pleaser. I think that you’re going to like this delightful movie as much as I did. But it’s not guaranteed.