COMEDY; 1hr 34min
STARRING: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni
Press gang: from left, Plaza, Soni and Johnson
Time travel, that great intriguer, is the story behind the story of three hapless Seattle Magazine staffers assigned to investigate a plainly strange man who has placed a newspaper ad seeking a teleporting partner. Their target, seemingly paranoid and delusional supermarket worker Kenneth (Duplass), is one of life’s rare creatures. Then, too, so is magazine intern Darius (Plaza), whose mood dial is set permanently at morose. Working undercover, she gains Kenneth’s trust and warms to him as one odd bod to another.
In the meantime, cynical senior journalist Jeff (Johnson), who should be running the show, is adjusting his shallow priorities while becoming reacquainted with a significant ex (Jenica Bergere). And on the budget-motel sidelines, studious intern Arnau (Soni) attempts without success to instil some logic into the peculiar proceedings.
What the monkey biz amounts to is lost people figuring out where they need to be. Which could have been unbearably quirky if it took itself too seriously. But praise be, no: feature first-timers director Colin Trevorrow and screenplay writer Derek Connolly refuse to go that road, opting instead to tread water with their gutsy, steadfast cast between the fanciful, the poignant and the maybe-a-bit-impossible.