Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Written by: Derek Connolly
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Karan Soni and Jake Johnson
One review I read compared Safety Not Guaranteed to The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. How they made that leap is beyond me. Colin Trevorrow’s indie dramedy, about three journalists who decide to chase down and write a story about the author of a personal ad who is seeking a partner with whom to time travel, is quirky but has nothing close to the depth of Eternal Sunshine. The comparison, however, basically summed up what I didn’t like about it: I just didn’t feel the “sweet, oddball sadness” that permeated the latter. Here, I liked the characters and I understood their pain and dissatisfaction but it didn’t reach me. There was something uncomfortable about it which might have been the point but it didn’t help to make this movie memorable despite its unique, and true (the movie is based on a real personal ad) premise. That said, there is something enjoyable about the movie where the dialogue, story and editing move it forward with charm and grace. It is not overambitious and without comparisons stands well enough on its own.
What I liked: The eccentricity of each character feels natural and never forced. The relationships are rushed but sincere and the rugged style merely enhances the finale. There is something true about these characters and their lives. The casting is flawless, especially Mark Duplass as the time traveller dealing with his loneliness better than the rest.
What I didn’t like: I really can’t pinpoint it. The movie, in its way, is beautiful but I felt Trevorrow kept his characters at a distance from his audience, as if the movie ends just as we were beginning to understand these individuals.
My rating: I’d have these characters over for dinner.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%