Sundance London 2012: ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ a romantic comedy for sci-fi aficionados

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Safety Not Guaranteed
Written by Derek Connolly
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
USA, 2012

The theme of time travel was epitomised in the 80’s and 90’s. With the Back to the Future trilogy and sci-fi shows such as Sliders and Quantum Leap, it was only a matter of time before you can make time travel “new” again.

Safety Not Guaranteed is a romantic dramedy with a sci-fi element starring Aubrey Plaza, who is best known as obnoxious Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Her character, Darius, is assigned to help Jeff (New Girl‘s Jake Johnson) on an article following a curious newspaper ad, wherein the advertiser is looking for someone to go back in time with them. Going undercover as an interested party, she meets Kenneth (Mark Duplass, also executive producer), a supposedly unstable man who is determined to travel back to the year 2001.

The core of the film is not the science fiction element, nor is it the probability of whether Kenneth is for real or just insane. The heart of Safety Not Guaranteed is the emotional connections between the characters that grow throughout the film. Director Colin Trevorrow focuses the film on the more endearing aspects and subsequently, there is more than just science. Aubrey Plaza’s hard-hearted Darius, is funny and heartwarming, and as she opens up to Kenneth, there are some very tender moments between the two characters. Johnson’s character puts in a great performance as Jeff. Emotionally conflicted as he may be, seeing him trying to reconnect with a childhood fling is captivating.

The premise is funny with a quirky edge and the training scenes between Duplass and Plaza touch the inner geek in the audience, with an unexpected yet heartfelt outcome. The dialogue is smart and witty, not to mention consistent – no wonder the film won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award as Sundance 2012.

Safety Not Guaranteed is one of the more accessible films of Sundance London. Its wit and quirkiness has already won the hearts of numerous critics and is destined to become a cult classic with the iPod Generation.

Katie Wong

The 26th-29th April sees the Sundance London Film and Music festival hit the O2 Arena, which sees the festival – renowned for its programme of independent film – take place in the UK for the first time in its 34-year history.

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