Showing posts with label Jake Johnson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jake Johnson. Show all posts

Friday, 4 January 2013

Safety Not Guaranteed

The latest film from the Duplass brothers is Safety Not Guaranteed, a film about a sad young magazine intern (Aubrey Plaza) who joins her boss (Jake Johnson) and fellow intern (Karen Soni) in tracking down a man who has left an advert in a local newspaper. The ad reads: “Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.” Intrigued and hoping to discover a crazy man worth writing a story about, the three of them set off from Seattle to Ocean View to track the man down. They find Kenneth (Mark Duplass), a paranoid man who believes the Government are following him. Slowly Kenneth begins to accept Darius (Plaza) into his plans but is he crazy or is he on to something?

I was recommended this film by Malone on Movies and had heard very little about it beforehand. Just this morning I saw it was on The Vern's worst of 2012 list which made me worried. What also worried me was my total lack of interest in Jeff Who Lives at Home, a film I really disliked. I have really enjoyed the Duplass’ work in the past though and to be fair this film was written by newcomer Derek Connolly and directed by Colin Trevorrow but retains a lot of the quirky plotting, expert dialogue and unusual situations which has made some of the Duplass’ work great.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

No Strings Attached

This is yet another sex friends romantic comedy, a genre that has become far too popular in the last couple of years. Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) keep bumping into one another over a period of fifteen years and eventually have sex. Emma is afraid of relationships and commitment etc so they decide to forgo any relationship and just have no strings attached sex. Predictably things don’t stay sweet for long and when Adam wants more from their relationship, Emma decided to break it off only to realise that she really does love him after all. Maybe I should have started this paragraph with ‘Spoiler Alert’ but anyone with an IQ higher than that of a Satsuma could guess how things are going to go.

After winning her Oscar for Black Swan it would appear that Portman is taking time off from acting by appearing in both this and Your Highness in the same year. I hope her sabbatical ends soon because she is wasted in these roles. Ashton Kutcher plays the Ashton Kutcher character, something he plays well but he is an annoying screen presence who sucks the life out of any movie he appears in. Some of the supporting cast are ok but there are far too many of them so no one character gets more than a few lines of dialogue. The character of Adam’s father, which was quite a large role, served no purpose and the father and son back story went nowhere.

Kutcher proving he can bench press 90lbs
The story is so unbelievably dull and predictable that my girlfriend (who made me watch the film) suggested turning it off half way though. I think it is trying to be clever by using the female character as the one who is afraid of commitment but this is hardly a new idea and the sex-friends angle has been done numerous times recently in films such as Love & Other Drugs (review here) and Friends with Benefits both of which are far sweeter and funnier.

The film did have one or two good lines and I laughed once and chucked a couple of times but it falls well short of the Kermode five-laughs-or-more-makes-a-comedy rule which I Adhere to. I also felt no compassion for Portman’s character who we are meant to feel sorry for when she realises she has made a mistake. It’s her own stupid fault.

This film should be avoided at all costs. If you really want to see a fuck buddies comedy then try one of the films mentioned above instead.