A past worth returning to


SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED. Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, and Karan Soni. Directed by Colin Trevorrow. Rated M (Sexual references and coarse language). 85 min.

An advertisement has been placed in a paper by an unknown person looking for someone to help with time-travelling. The Ad asks for someone to go back in time, but who would be willing to be paid later. The Ad further goes on to say: “Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed”.

Darius Britt (Aubrey Plaza) is a disillusioned cadet-reporter working for the Seattle Weekly magazine, and the decision is made to do a story on the Ad. Jeff Schwensen (Jake Johnson) is given the assignment of following up the Ad, and he selects Darius to help him. Arnau (Karan Soni), an Indian student-intern, also volunteers. 

The film is odd, quirky and highly engaging. This is a clever, likeable movie that has great acting, and is directed very creatively. The film looks unusually for joy in taking chances, and achieves it. Further, it plays with the notion that people’s seeming fabrications might eventually turn out to reflect grains of truth. 

In the film, Kenneth’s time machine may be a metaphor, or a plot device, or maybe just plain unreal, but it makes you think about things in the past that are worth returning to, and it does so without any obvious signs of self-consciousness, manipulative crafting, or sentimentality.

– Peter W Sheehan is associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.


Safety Not Guaranteed (Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting)