Just when you think Save the Date would follow down the tired path of a typical romantic comedy it veers away.
Save the Date
Save the Date is a romantic comedy which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was picked up by IFC Films that features a solid upcoming cast of Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Mark Webber and Geoffrey Arend. If you just read the synopsis, watch the trailer or even simply looking at the title, you may think you are in for a standard romantic comedy but I am here to tell you that you are not. Granted, it features a commitment fearing character along with the guy that can do-no-wrong but it makes it work better than most others in the genre. Most importantly, the film achieves exactly what it intended to do.
The film opens with Sarah (Lizzy Caplan) preparing to move in with her boyfriend Kevin (Geoffrey Arend). You can tell she is very apprehensive about moving in when she deliberately looks for signs that tell her it is a bad idea, like when her truck full of her possessions will seemingly not start (until her sister Beth (Alison Brie) reaches over and effortlessly gets it to start). Unbeknownst to her, Kevin is planning on asking her to marry him as soon as he figures out the best time to ask her. So before the ten minute mark the recipe for disaster was presented.
Beth’s soon-to-be husband, Andrew (Martin Starr), happens to play drums in the same band as Kevin and he may have persuaded him to ask Sarah to marry him. When Beth finds out about this she tells Andrew to call it off because she knows her sister is not ready for marriage but by then it is too late. Kevin has made up his mind about asking her the question. Midway through their bands set, he pauses in front of everyone to ask Sarah to marry him. It goes over exactly how you think it would; terribly.
To complicate the impending doomed relationship of Sarah and Kevin is a man named Jonathan (Mark Webber) who in his words, “silently stalks” Sarah at the bookstore she works at. He jokingly says silently because it is a bookstore, not because he hides it very well. It is obvious that he has Sarah order him in obscure books just to be around her as much as possible. Jonathan is awkward, clumsy, and blatant when flirting with Sarah but he is also sweet and adorable. She is vulnerable right now and he understands he is “rebound guy” but he would rather have been in love than not to love at all.
Lizzy Caplan is simply amazing here and it is hands down her best performance to date. Her character is deeply flawed which can be frustrating at certain times but she is insanely humanistic. Even when her character goes back and forth between playing the protagonist and the antagonist she does so with enough charm but most importantly she stays true to her personality.
Save the Date thrives on solid performances by the rest of the cast as well. Each member of the cast stays within their role and does not overstep their boundary. And thanks to the script none of them must act out of character suddenly to throw the plot for a curve. All you see is five completely different personalities that are for the most part believable (with maybe the exception of Mark Webber’s character).
Just when you think Save the Date would follow down the tired path of a typical romantic comedy it veers away. While the initial plot setup is cliché, the rest of the film thankfully stays away from most of the pitfalls that similar films fall into by keeping it honest and with an ending that is absolutely perfect. The script is not complex nor groundbreaking but it was not trying to be; it is a genuine tale of common relationship quarrels told in a smart and charming way. Save the Date will surprise you with how good it is.