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Scarecrow on Seattle: SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED






For the past few years Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter (you may have seen some of them when we had our Scarecrow on Seattle rental section up last year). We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well.


Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

     Combining elements of a quirky independent comedy with a low-key science fiction plot, Safety Not Guaranteed tells the story of a likely crackpot who places a classified ad looking for company on a time travel expedition. A cynical reporter grabs a couple of interns and heads to the Washington coast in an attempt to track down the author of the advertisement. One of the interns (Aubrey Plaza) begins training with the potential time warper (Mark Duplass) and they gradually fall in love. In a parallel plot the reporter (Jake Johnson) reunites with an old flame that forces the shallow dude into some serious soul searching. Both storylines share a similar theme of regret and hope that we can somehow change our past mistakes in order to have a more fulfilling present. In the beginning the main characters come across as stereotypes but as things progress they are all revealed to be emotionally vulnerable with much more complicated feelings than are initially apparent.

     Safety Not Guaranteed was shot in the Seattle area and around the region. The journalists work for Seattle Magazine and Plaza is shown outside the publication’s actual location on First Avenue South near the stadiums (I imagine they may have also used the magazine’s offices for the interior shots, but I’m not sure). The trio travels to the fictional town of Ocean City, which with familiar sites like the beach along State Route 109 and the go-kart track is unmistakably Ocean Shores. “Ocean City” is fleshed out with other locations in Seattle and outlying areas. The reporters hang out at West Seattle’s recently closed Shipwreck Tavern and a very slow car chase rolls through Carnation. Johnson’s old girlfriend works at the Wild Roots Hair Salon in the Maple Leaf neighborhood and her house is in Fall City. Burien is used for several key settings, including the Grocery Outlet where Duplass works, retro diner Flap Jacks’ where Duplass and Plaza have an ear-ventful (sorry, bad pun) meal, and Highline High School where Johnson makes an ass of himself during a football game. Look carefully at the spectators for a cameo by local director Lynn Shelton as an “uptight mom.”

     With the possible exception of Duplass, who should be made an honorary Washingtonian thanks to his work in Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister and Humpday, the principal actors and director Colin Trevorrow are all from elsewhere. The filmmakers did employ a few key local participants behind the scenes including gifted cinematographer Ben Kasulke, who has a real knack for capturing the Washington coast in all its foggy mossy glory. The supporting cast is jam packed with local talent including Xola Malik (the artist formerly known as Kid Sensation), hardworking Tony Eden Doupe, William Darkdrive Hall Jr. and Tom Grassroots Ricciardelli. Like the equally enjoyable Fat Kid Rules The World, Safety Not Guaranteed serves as another example of a production company coming to Washington from out-of-state and making excellent use of our fine locations while really capturing the character, charm and feel of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. –Spenser Hoyt



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