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Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 137
Fresh: 124 | Rotten: 13

Safety Not Guaranteed's ostensibly modest ambitions are outmatched by the movie's strong performances, beguiling charm, and heartfelt story.


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 3

Safety Not Guaranteed's ostensibly modest ambitions are outmatched by the movie's strong performances, beguiling charm, and heartfelt story.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 42,896

My Rating

Movie Info

From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine - When an unusual classified ad inspires three cynical Seattle magazine employees to look for the story behind it, they discover a mysterious eccentric named Kenneth, a likable but paranoid supermarket clerk, who believes he's solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon. Together, they embark on a hilarious, smart, and unexpectedly heartfelt journey that reveals how far believing can take you. -- (C) Official Site


Drama, Comedy

Derek Connolly

Oct 30, 2012


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All Critics (137) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (124) | Rotten (13)

Plaza and Duplass are enormously watchable, and there's a sweet sadness in the movie's focus on lost dreams and missed chances, and the truism that we all long for a time machine every once in a while.

December 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Safety Not Guaranteed is droll and hilarious, but there isn't a cheap laugh in it, and the ending is so perfect it sends you soaring.

June 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Comment (1)
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Safety" can't sustain its own offbeat energy. By the end, even Aubrey Plaza would roll her eyes at it.

June 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comments (20)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Safety Not Guaranteed" is eccentric enough to get mistaken for an uplifting fantasy, but it's Plaza who belongs in the penthouse.

June 21, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Neatly, the script embarks on one journey while dangling the possibility of another: the prospect of taking a sudden leap from comic reality into the realm of pure imagination.

June 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Safety Not Guaranteed" is most vibrant and vital at its edges, in the way that the characters interact with each other while waiting for something to happen.

June 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's just about everything you'd want in a summer movie, combining elements of romance, science fiction and comedy juiced with an element of frat-boy attitude.

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED sticks the landing.

April 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Badass Digest

Bouncing back and forth between belief and incredulity, the film weaves an engaging story about love, time travel and the importance of looking beyond the obvious.

March 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Time travel and unexpected love combine for one of the best films of the year.

March 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

If you like your science-fiction lo-fi, and your coming of age parables with a handy technological metaphor at their core, Colin Trevorrow's Safety Not Guaranteed is the movie you've been waiting for.

January 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Quickflix

The film is obviously low-budget but has a smart script and a real feeling for those who would like to turn back the clock. Its modesty on the whole becomes it, and Plaza is a real find.

January 4, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

A human drama with some good laughs, winningly performed, and never predictable.

January 2, 2013 Full Review Source: SFX Magazine
SFX Magazine

[It] can be comic, tragic, mundane or something weirdly transcendental.

December 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Shows you don't need much more than a good script to make a decent film - even if said script involves time travel.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

The finale may raise eyebrows, but this is an experience you'll want to relive.

December 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The problem is that your safety is guaranteed - everyone is too likeable for there to be any sense of danger.

December 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

his time-travel romcom wastes lead Aubrey Plaza and dithers until its geek-pandering finale.

December 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

The independent sector of American cinema, you would think, would do better.

December 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Few films so gloriously live up to their potential.

December 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

See it...then travel back in time and see it again.

December 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

An endearingly oddball indie sci-fi.

December 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A low-concept film about time travel mightn't sound like much of a trip, but first-time director Colin Trevorrow offers good-natured fun and real substance in place of shiny surfaces and whizz-bang effects.

December 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

With a low budget but a lot of imagination and talent, director Trevorrow and writer Connolly create a deceptively simple comedy that's one of the most entertaining films of the year.

December 21, 2012 Full Review Source:

It may not make you walk out, but it certainly left me unsatisfied.

December 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

With another rewrite and some more focused direction, Trevorrow could have exploited the potential in his story and provided a worthy platform for Plaza, whose deadpan lead performance is excellent.

December 20, 2012 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

Audience Reviews for Safety Not Guaranteed

A genuinely great story spoiled by the inclusion of misjudged humour. The Duplass addition is what stops this film from reaching its potential. I like the Duplass brothers but their style did not suit the story one bit. I want to like this film, I was waiting to like it until the very end. It just seemed to miss the mark and miss the point. I'd be kidding myself if I didn't admit that I was hugely disappointed. It needed a better directer rather than a substandard one, some quirky compositions once and a while, a bit of panache. Frustratingly wasted opportunity.
March 12, 2014

Super Reviewer

Since I saw this movie before I started watching "Parks & Recreation," I really dug Aubrey Plaza's ever-present sideways glower and so-hard-she-shits-nails deadpan. Now that I know awkward snark-a-chino is her drink of choice, I'm actually more enamored of her sweetly abashed romanticism. That coy Spy vs. Spy meet-cute is gold! "New Girl"'s Jake Johnson is also great in the scene where Jeff, after a humiliating rejection, man-cries while smoking, swigging, and speeding around a go-kart track.

Quarter-life ennui meets time travel. The former is charming and bittersweet (with Jeff's reformed playboy and subsequent revenge-relapse at the expense of and to the benefit of the nebbish Arnau), but the latter lacks both psychological and scientific explanation. *Spoilers* Kenneth IS revealed to be delusional if not paranoid, so I'm guessing his real reason for going back wasn't to bring back his assumed-dead sweetie but to keep himself from driving her away. Is he aware of this somewhat alarming coping mechanism? Is he still legit kerazy? It doesn't take much for Darius to trust him again. Then if they're going back to save Darius's mom, shouldn't they further consider the butterfly effect consequences trumpeted in nearly every time travel movie?

Upon rewatch though, I just like it for the undeniable goofy goodness of its characters and storyline. There's also a [too short] snippet of one of my favorite Guster songs in the beginning, AND I hadn't realized that Guster frontman Ryan Miller scored the music!
December 30, 2013

Super Reviewer

Colin Trevorrow directs this masterpiece to perfection in every way possible. Hiring his first-time feature scriptwriter, Derek Connolly, the words magically fly off the pages. The story goes from simple to extravagant in a matter of seconds and you don't see anything coming in this film, aside from a few romantic side plots that are inevitable. When a magazine is looking for some cool stories to share with the world, they find some guys classified ad stating that he wants somebody to go back in time with him. Sure these people laugh, but what they don't realize is that he os very serious about it and honestly believes that it's possible. "Safety Not Guaranteed" is filled with heartwarming dialogue, great life lessons, and an impossible story that will become more believable than you may think. This film is textbook perfection, and it's one of my favourite films.
December 28, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

SNG weaves a humorous tale of overcoming seclusion, and the strength it takes to have hope in the most skeptical of places, from the prospects of time travel to the human heart.

One can argue the story is simply a romantic fluff piece, but the beauty is that it never feels like one and it constantly captivates our suspense of belief with it's premise and through authentic conversations.

With great actors to boot, there's very little going wrong here. The only thing that I had gripes with was how loosely the subplots played into the main plot, I understand that they intertwined through their themes but I couldn't help but notice a lack in focus.

Still very little to complain about, a true delight!
September 18, 2013
Drake Tsui

Super Reviewer

    1. Darius: There's no sense in nonsense, especially when the heat's hot.
    – Submitted by Alejandro S (16 months ago)
    1. Kenneth: You ever face certain death?
    2. Darius: If it was so certain, I wouldnt be here, would I?
    – Submitted by Alejandro S (16 months ago)
    1. Darius: Do you sell guns here?
    2. Kenneth: What kind of guns?
    3. Darius: I don't know. Something sexy, and affordable, with killing power.
    4. Kenneth: You should try C&R Guns in Welkins. The state of Washington does not allow the sale of firearms on the business premises of a grocer.
    5. Darius: Hmm. What about those thingies, with the spikey ball at the end of the chain...thingies, you know, do you have those?
    6. Kenneth: What exactly is the intended use? Is there a pest problem or hunting?
    7. Darius: Well if your ad had been written properly I might have a better idea of what I need.
    – Submitted by Aisa M (16 months ago)
    1. Darius: I don't know. Something sexy, and affordable, with killing power.
    – Submitted by Aisa M (16 months ago)
    1. Arnau: Stormtroopers don't know anything about lasers of time travel. They're blue collar workers.
    – Submitted by Aisa M (16 months ago)
    1. Jeff: Alright, give me the lesbian and the Indian and I've got a story.
    – Submitted by Aisa M (16 months ago)
View all quotes (23)

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