Save the Date

Directed By: Michael Mohan

Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend, and Mark Webber

With the awards season well under way, we at Sobriety Test have not been paying too much attention to the indie VOD marketplace over the last several months.  We've had bigger fish to fry.  We've dropped the ball on this and plan on getting back on our A-game with these often surprising indies over the next several months.  A great starting point is a little romantic comedy called Save the Date starring Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie.

Sarah (Caplan) is a woman who knows what she wants in life, and this does not include marriage.  Taking the advice of her sister Beth (Brie), she moves in with her longtime boyfriend Kevin (Geoffrey Arend).  Becoming roommates is a big step for Sarah, but not a big enough one for Kevin.  After poor advice from Beth's fiancĂ© and his fellow band-mate Andrew (Martin Starr), Kevin decides to propose to Sarah.  Kevin and Andrew are part of a band known as Wolf-Bird, and Kevin intends to pop the big question at their next concert.  What he doesn't see coming is the answer no man wants to hear when he gets down on one knee.

After turning down Kevin's proposal and basically sabotaging her relationship with him, Sarah's life spins out of control.  She moves out of Kevin's apartment.  She continues neglecting everyone and everything else in her life.  She even hooks up with this customer named Jonathan (Mark Webber) from the bookstore at which she works.  As her relationship with Jonathan gets more serious, he gets a firsthand look at how Sarah sabotages relationships.  Meanwhile Beth and Andrew's upcoming wedding is steadily going to hell as Beth is not getting the support she needs from her sister during this critical time of her life.  Kevin's life also begins to spin out of control as he tries to deal with the ultimate public rejection.

Save the Date might just be the most authentic romantic comedy I've seen all year.  There's some legitimate discourse here on the love lives of twenty and thirty-somethings.  Director Michael Mohan really captures the stresses of navigating a complicated love life in our world today.  Along the way, there are plenty of romantic moments, decent performances from the cast, and a few good chuckles.  Save the Date is something for which you should save some time on your calendar.  Sit back, relax, and grab a couple of glasses of merlot for this one.

Though Save the Date is all about Sarah dropping the ball in her love life and sabotaging relationships with any men who claim to love her, there's plenty of romance in this flick.  Between Sarah's on-and-off romances and Beth's steady relationship with Andrew, love is definitely in the air.  As Sarah, Lizzy Caplan connects romantically with both Geoffrey Arend and Mark Webber.  The chemistry is so strong in both cases that I can't choose a guy for whom to root.  Sparks fly when Caplan has a romantic scene with either one of them.  Alison Brie and Martin Starr also have great chemistry as Sarah's sister Beth and her fiancĂ© Andrew.  The only strange thing about romance in Save the Date is that Michael Mohan likes to show camera shots of the actors' feet at pivotal moments.  I don't get that.  It's just weird and distracting.

The actors all give decent performances.  As I've mentioned, they all have great romantic chemistry with one another.  When the love boat gets rocky however, I can't say that all the cast members are at the top of their game.  Lizzy Caplan is culprit number one in her role as Sarah.  Specifically, I don't see Caplan expanding herself as a performer with this role.  Whether in television or film, she often plays emotionally distant characters that screw up relationships.  I want to see more from her because she's an actress with lots of potential.  Geoffrey Arend loses me in the more potent scenes of the film as well.  At best, his emotional performances on stage are questionable.  At worst, Arend looks like he's having a seizure.

Save the Date is a romantic comedy, and there are quite a few chuckles in the movie as well.  While there's nothing that's necessarily laugh-out-loud funny, the film has its moments.  An aspiring artist, Caplan's Sarah offers plenty of amusing drawings that put her love life on display.  Mark Webber's opportunism in his pursuit of Sarah is also quite entertaining.  Most importantly, a blank stare from Martin Starr's Andrew is worth a thousand words.  Andrew clearly has no interest in planning a wedding, and Starr captures this perfectly.  It's just a party to him and one good laugh for us.

All in all, I did enjoy Save the Date.  However, it could have been better.  This indie romantic comedy gets a 0.06% rating.  Get the wine glasses ready for this one.