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Safety Not Guaranteed


Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake M Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere, Jeff Garlin, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kristen Bell

Director: Colin Trevorrow

OK, but nothing special, this is a typical American indie, but with a distinctive new talent in Aubrey Plaza. She plays Darius, an interne on a Seattle magazine, and the Miss Cellophane of journalism. Even her father (Garlin) tells her over one of their takeaway dinners that 'You're sad. It's like you have a cloud following you.'

So church mouse Darius is surprised to find herself one of two rookie reporters selected to accompany cocky newshound Jeff (Johnson) to follow up a strange ad from a man who offers time travel: 'Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed'.

Why it takes three people to carry out this apparently minor assignment and leave their office short-staffed isn't something the film is willing to explain, but after a false start by the shallow Jeff, who's only really interested in looking up an old flame (Bergere), it's Darius who ends up being the guinea pig who volunteers to join Nick (Duplass) in his bizarre experiment.

A loner and weirdo who says he's going back to 2001 to prevent the death of a girlfriend (Bell) - who subsequently proves to be very much alive - Nick 'trains' Darius who, of course, falls for him.

An interesting film with lovely muted colour photography and a satisfying conclusion; but parts of it are just odd, and others pretty extraneous. At least, these do serve to pad it out to feature length, but may not be enough to sustain your interest throughout.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Colour by AlphaCine.
86 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 20 Dec 2012