Monday, May 9, 2016

Movie Monday – Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)


The movie follows a rather monotone magazine intern named Darius who isn’t all that happy with her life.  One of the magazine writers, Jeff, wants to do a story on a classified ad asking for someone to go time traveling.  He takes Darius and another intern to go stake out the post office box to see who placed the ad.

Jeff goes off to try to get back together with an old high school girlfriend.  Darius sees the guy picking up his mail and follows him, learning his name is Kenneth and he works in a supermarket.  Jeff goes to Kenneth’s house to go time traveling, but Kenneth doesn’t buy him as being serious about it.  So Jeff sends in Darius who is more like Kenneth.

Kenneth starts training Darius with guns and self-defense – which he doesn’t have that much skill with – and tells her that “government agents” are following him.  At one point she helps him steal some equipment to finish the machine.  Eventually they start a bit of a romance.

Kenneth asks why Darius wants to go back to 2001 and she says to save her mom from being killed.  Kenneth later says he wants to go back to save his first girlfriend Belinda, who was killed when a drunk driver drove into her house.

The magazine’s editor looks up Belinda and finds out she’s alive.  Darius goes to interview her, and Belinda says that she and Kenneth never really dated, and that he once drove his car into her boyfriend’s house.

Along the way, they see that there are agents following Kenneth.  They talk to Jeff and Darius saying Kenneth has been contacting scientists asking about particle accelerators and had been arrested for breaking into a factory.

They all arrive at Kenneth’s house and Darius tells him about Belinda.  He figures that their mission worked.  But when the agents show up, he figures she was just lying to him and runs off to the launch area. 

Everyone follows and they see a boat with gizmos on it.  Darius apologizes and Kenneth takes her onboard.  They push some buttons, there’s lights, and then the boat disappears.


I remember seeing trailers for this when it came out, and I figured everyone would laugh at the guy until about the halfway point when the time machine would show up and then they’d go on some wacky time adventure.  Or they would all laugh at him until the end when they’d hear some weird noises and go into a locked room to just see some smoke.  As I was watching it, seeing all the dry humor, I realized the wacky time adventure was out, so I was expecting an ambiguous ending of, did Kenneth actually built a time machine and did he use it?  And when they’re all chasing after him, I expected them to just find a burn patch in a field.  And then they showed the time boat. 

I’m somewhat conflicted by the movie and the ending.  On one hand, it is an interesting premise.  On the other hand, I’m not sure what would be the best way of doing it.  As it is, it’s eighty minutes of character study with, maybe, three minutes of a time machine at the end.   

In the end, I guess it’s an okay movie, however I think I’m more curious to see what other people were inspired to create from this.  I’m guessing that in a week or so I’ll come up with a story idea that is somewhat inspired from this.  We’ll just have to see.

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