Safety Not Guaranteed ★★★★½

I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed this film, but the level to which my enjoyment reached was somewhat of a major surprise. This is funny, heartfelt, compact little gem with witty writing and endearing performances that could not come more highly recommended.

It was only a matter of time before Aubrey Plaza got her lead breakout role, and she shines here, sharing terrific chemistry with the charming Mark Duplass. This was 2012's first time travel movie, so it shouldn't be forgotten amongst all the hot talk about "Looper" and its entertaining qualities. I know the main focus of this movie isn't obsessed with the intricacies of time travel like "Looper", and it is a romantic comedy when it's all said and done, but it does deserve to be sub-genred as a time travel picture...and one that I found even more enjoyable than the terrific "Looper".

The pacing of the film, swift from the start and never letting up for 85 minutes, is another welcomed positive. It's established in the writing, editing, cinematography, and wonderful acting. This film should stand as a spotlight for the acting career of director/writer/producer Mark Duplass, who has given plenty of capable performances for years now, but this is his time to be more widely known. It's a shame that this film didn't get more than a limited run in theaters, but I suspect that it will find a hefty audience once it hits video this coming Tuesday. I don't know if I've ever seen a film use a projected budget of $750,000 better.

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