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With her high cheekbones, feline brown eyes, and heart-shaped mouth, actress Aubrey Plaza is bombshell hot. But in an unusual twist for a twentysomething performer, Plaza's natural foxiness is a resource that has gone largely unexploited. She's never cast purely to pretty up the place. If anything, she's there to put the pretty in their place. All of which makes it interesting that Safety Not Guaranteed — a road-trip rom-com with a light sci-fi spin that screenwriter Derek Connolly wrote with Plaza in mind — is both the first big starring role for Plaza and also the first movie to acknowledge her hotness. Reporter Jeff (Jake Johnson), on assignment to write an exposé on a guy searching for a time-travel partner, suggests that his intern Darius (Plaza) use the fact that she's a "beautiful woman" to get the story. A typical Plaza tough cookie patly softened by her pre-opening-credits admission that her sarcastic façade can be traced back to the death of her mom, Darius calls Jeff out for "dangling my vagina out there like bait." And then she does what she's told to gain entry into the weird world of Kenneth (Mark Duplass), a hermit loner who claims to have built a time machine. Plaza and Duplass have an easy, charming chemistry, and plot contrivances aside, as indie-film nerd-mances go, this one is genuinely sweet.
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