Safety Not Guaranteed, written by Derek Connolly and directed by Colin Trevorrow, tells the story of Darius (the very talented Aubrey Plaza), a bored intern at a Seattle magazine. While researching a human interest story about Kenneth (Mark Duplass), a scientist/ store clerk who has placed a newspaper ad looking for a companion to accompany him into the future, Darius finds herself learning valuable life lessons about trust, loss, hope and, of course, love.

Much of the film is funny, and parts of it are quite moving—including a subplot in which Darius’s boss seeks out his old high school girlfriend who lives not far from the wannabe time traveler. As is often the case in low-budget films of this ilk, there is a tidy mix of optimism and quirkiness.

The key to the film, however, is the ending, which has stirred countless post-cinema discussions. (My wife liked it, I didn’t.) It scores points for audacity, but at what price? Safety Not Guaranteed has its share of hoots and tears, but what really makes it worth the price of admission—especially with a group of friends—is the argument that will undoubtedly ensue as you try to figure out how far you can go in a romantic comedy before you cross the line.

John Petrakis

John Petrakis teaches screenwriting in Chicago.

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