Like a lovelorn schoolboy with a pet falcon on his shoulder and vintage Coronet midget camera around his neck, the influence of Wes Anderson is present in every frame of Safety Not Guaranteed. It's subtle, but it's there: the center-framed shots, the self-conscious eclecticism, the tippy-toed dance on the precipice of absurdity--these are the seeds from which director Colin Treverrow has grown his first feature film. And what defines a Wes Anderson film more powerfully than its music?
So, in seeking to establish a unique sonic mood, Treverrow came to you. This is what he gave you to work with: a flick based on the feeble premise that a local magazine would send a reporter and two interns (immediately the limits of disbelief's tensile strength are tested) to investigate a mysterious classified ad seeking recruits for a time travel adventure (in the fashion that movie magazine writers investigate their stories: snooping around, stalking their subjects, secretly staking them out, ie. the way that no magazine writers have/will ever done/do).
One can debate the merits of Aubrey Plaza as a leading lady (personally, her doe-eyed monotone wore thin pretty fast, but I nonetheless understand her deadpan, zero-sum allure). One can debate, too, whether Mark Duplass's mumblecore sincerity contributes or detracts from the aforementioned Andersonian absurdity dance. But the naked fact is this: it's your endless selection of hyper-earnest post-grunge alt-rock, played over the opening and end credits, through every scene transition, during every quiet beat in which silence might have allowed for a moment of consideration, that really wrecked the movie's mood for me.
Anderson's self-consciousness has purpose; it's almost metatextual. But the way Treverrow punctuates each moment of sentiment with one of your sentimental indie tunes proves Safety to be nothing more than a cheap knock-off, a Coronet midget camera manufactured to cash in on a hipsterist craze for the quirky and different.