“A charming blend of sci-fi and rom-com, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED (**** out of four) delivers in both universes—and everywhere in between. It’s equally endearing as a sweetly funny romance between two likable oddballs and as a low-tech time travel thriller, and has something profound to say about making the most of the present. A low-budget independent film that enthralls just as powerfully as any long-awaited blockbuster, it could well become a cult classic. Anchored by superb performances and deft writing (it won the screenwriting award at the Sundance film fest), SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED casts an enchanting spell from its opening scene. The film is so gently winning, it almost seems slight. It’s actually a fresh, funny, multilayered, character-driven story about hope, regret, overcoming fear, and the redemption that comes from human connection. It features a star-making turn by Aubrey Plaza, the sullen young misanthrope in TV’s Parks and Recreation. Here, she plays Darius, a sad-eyed magazine intern whose credo is to expect the worst and try not to get her hopes up. Equally potent in an offbeat role is Mark Duplass, who plays Kenneth, a nerdy lost soul who has placed a classified ad for a time-travel companion: “Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed.” The ad piques the interests of a cynical Seattle magazine reporter, Jeff (Jake M. Johnson), who brings along Darius and her fellow intern Arnau (Karan Soni) to track down the nutcase who wrote it.”—Claudia Puig, USA Today. R. 85 Min.
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