Review: Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie make sibling rivalry sweet and funny in the relationship comedy SAVE THE DATE
Stories featuring common Millennials and everyday dramas audiences can instantly relate with are the specialty of indie filmmaker Michael Mohan.
Drawing from impressive work including music videos featuring MoneyGrabber by Fitz And The Tantrums, his short EX-SEX and his self-released, micro budget, black-and-white, buddy drama One Too Many Mornings, Mohan delivers his most accomplished feature yet, Save the Date.
All of Mohan’s work is eye-catching but Save the Date also showcases his storytelling talents with a sweet romance that honestly captures all the ups and downs of loving someone more than they love you.
In Save the Date, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, two sisters experience crisscrossing relationship dramas and unintentionally help each other out. Sarah (Caplan) is a somewhat cynical bookshop clerk who pulls the plug on her relationship with indie musician Kevin (Geoffrey Arend) out of commitment fear and quickly rebounds with Jonathan (Mark Webber), a guy who may be too sweet and caring to be true.
Meanwhile, Sarah’s sister Beth (Brie), who insists that she’s more responsible, remains busy planning her “perfect” wedding despite the growing anxiety of her fiancé Andrew (Martin Starr).
Mohan is fast developing a reputation for sweet, young adult dramas. Co-writing the script with graphic artist Jeffrey Brown (the graphic memoirs Funny Misshapen Body and Little Things) and Egan Reich, Mohan crates a relationship story filled with characters and incidents that feel so similar to your own life.
In one of the film’s standout scenes, as Kevin’s public declaration of love for Sarah quickly turns into soul-cracking humiliation, it’s impossible not to shudder with painful recognition.
Save the Date is undeniably engaging because its indie rock bands, youthful exuberance for life and lovesick sorrow feels real.
Alison Brie, best known as Trudy Campbell on AMC’s "Mad Men" and Annie Edison on the NBC sitcom "Community," balances her natural comic talents with subtle drama as Beth, that successful sib who reminds you of your failings.
Lizza Caplan, a firecracker in the recent, girls-acting-badly comedy Bachelorette opposite Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher, is far better and more substantial in Save the Date. Caplan is always fun to watch here she’s heartfelt and fun.
Brie and Caplan match each other sassy comeback for sassy comeback and bring comic sparks to the movie.
Surprisingly, the guys of Save the Date are the source of the film’s heartbreak and drama.
Mark Webber, best known to audiences as one of Scott Pilgrim’s band mates in Scott Pilgrim Vs the World as well as a go-to indie guy with key roles in films like Good Dick, and The Good Life, gives the sweetest performance of his career as a “rebound” guy who’s just too nice to be a “rebound” guy.
Martin Starr is pitch perfect as Beth’s reluctant fiancé and Geoffrey Arend delivers the film’s best scenes as the heartbroken Kevin.
Another friendship drama, a coming-of-age tale featuring lovesick young adults may seem redundant for Mohan after One Too Many Mornings. Yet, thanks to a standout ensemble that clicks perfectly together, Save the Date comes off as funny, sweet and completely authentic.
Michael Mohan isn’t reinventing the indie romance with Save the Date but he certainly knows how to give moviegoers a good time. After all, it’s no fun if every trip to the art-house (or VOD purchase) turns out to be an experimental, cinema revolution.
Trailer for Save the Date:
Save the Date Movie Info:
Distributor: IFC Films
Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend and Mark Webber
Director: Michael Mohan
Screenwriter: Jeffrey Brown, Egan Reich, Michael Mohan
Cinematographer: Elisha Christian
Composer: Hrishikesh Hirway
Production Designer: Cindy Chao, Michele Yu
Editor: Christian Masini
Producers: Gilbert Films, Instinctive Film, Night and Day Pictures and XYZ Films
Running Time: 98 minutes
Rating: Rated R
Release Date: December 14, 2012