Where This Meets That
After watching the time-travel thriller Looper this weekend, we decided to go back in time and catch a time-travel romance, as well.
Safety Not Guaranteed is a charming indy romantic comedy that mixes fairly standard “rom-com” elements with refreshing depth, clever dialogue, genuinely likeable leading characters, and unusual twists of quantum theory and “men in trench coats” paranoia.
Seeking a story for the magazine she interns at, perpetual grump Darius (Aubrey Plaza) stakes out the writer of an intriguing newspaper want-ad seeking a companion to travel backward in time with. After some detective work, Darius identifies the writer as a curiously paranoid grocery-worker Kenneth (Mark Duplass) and goes undercover to find that he indeed believes himself to be finishing construction of a time machine.
Initially, Darius is just looking for a story to give her life a little intrigue, but as she gains credibility with Kenneth, she finds a kindred spirit. Both have their own reasons for wanting to go back in time, both past skeletons in need of healing. But the beautiful message of Safety Not Guaranteed is that the past, warts and all, is past; the present is where opportunity for true healing lives.
Plaza and Duplass are wonderfully sincere as Darius and Kenneth. Their dialogue works, and as they let each other in, there is a real sense that they are letting us in, as well. It’s a non-sexual chemistry that is rare in film today, a budding, beautiful friendship that transcends the standard superficialities that doom most romantic comedies to “one night stands” on my TV.
This one definitely deserves another date!
Safety Not Guaranteed score: 4 Falcone Rings