Review: SAVE THE DATE, A Delightful Movie About a Female Slacker and Her Mushy Men
Bookstore manager and freelance artist Sarah (Lizzy Caplan) plans on getting her shit together. Someday. But not anytime soon.
When we first meet Sarah, she's moving into an apartment with her rock star boyfriend, Kevin (Geoffrey Arend). Helping them is Sarah's sister Beth (Alison Brie) and her fiancé and Kevin's drummer, Andrew (Martin Starr). Sarah and Kevin's first night in the new apartment leads us to believe they are inseparable. While slow dancing in their underwear, they talk about farting, leaving the milk out, and all of things couples do but don't ever discuss - it's quite charming. So, Kevin does what any man madly in love with his girlfriend would do - he proposes to her. Much to her surprise, he asks in front of a large crowd of people during one of his shows. Much to his surprise, she says no. What makes things even worse is one of Kevin's fans filmed his miscued proposal and put it on the Internet. Oops.
Shortly after, Sarah pursues the exciting opportunities in the field of being single (getting drunk alone and passing out in a bar, for example). She isn't hitting rock bottom because she knows what she wants, and that's not Kevin. She realizes she's much happier coasting along alone. But, her life goes for a spin when she quickly rebounds and begins a romance with Jonathan, a book enthusiast (Mark Webber). It's then she starts to get the big picture of the strange phenomenon called "adulthood," and all the imperfections that come along with it. This is the story of Save the Date, the pleasing sophomore feature from Sundance alum Michael Mohan.
Caplan must have a lust for self-sabotage. Much like her character in Leslye Headland's Bachelorette, the only thing her recent characters are really good at is fucking up. As a sketch artist, Sarah is incredibly gifted, but she really sucks at life. You can really rely on Caplan to heighten these unreliable characters - it's clear she's having a great time playing such colorful failures. Caplan adds a subtle coolness to her characters, even when they are falling apart, and is quickly becoming the front woman for the lovable losers of the new female slacker generation.
What's fascinating about Save the Date isn't Sarah's bad decisions or misfortunes, but how affectionate both her former and current boyfriends are to her, despite her sporadic moments of uncertainty. Save the Date shows that nice guys don't always finish last, and ex-boyfriends don't always go Norman Bates after getting dumped. Hopeless romantics still exist and not everyone's an asshole.
Save the Date isn't a completely original film, but it's the little character additions Mohan and his team of writers add to the coming-of-age love story that makes it separate itself from the films you're used to seeing - that not all relationships start off like a fairy tale or see it through to a bitter end. Mohan really captures the sometimes difficult process of being loved and loving someone back.
Save the Date opens in limited theatrical release in the U.S. on Friday, December 14, 2012. Check the official site for more information.