I don't do a lot of movie reviews because God knows that is well-trodden Internet ground, but once in a while a movie comes along that is so annoying and pretentious that I am moved to say a few words about it. Save the Date is just such a movie.
You would think that post-Mumblecore, the world would be ready for the astutely-made, three-act conventional structure hipster romantic comedy. I think that's what they might have been going for here, although who knows really. Unfortunately, unlike airplanes, movies don't come with a black box so you can analyze the data after a crash and see just what the filmmakers were trying to do and whether anyone ever yelled "PULL UP! PULL UP!" during production.
Basically, the movie is about a pair of objectionable sisters played by Alison Brie and Lizzy Caplan. Alison Brie is about to get married and is freaking out about gift bags and invitations in a very cliched way while her put-upon fiancee with scraggly hair and a beard just wants them to have fun like they used to. Lizzy Caplan is, I gather, some kind of Williamsburg/Los Feliz sex symbol with the big dumb eyes of a slow loris and a self-consciously quirky post-Zooey Deschanel vibe. She's also rail-thin like everyone else in this movie. In the film, she is some kind of artist, although her "art" more closely resembles primitive cartoons or doodles in the margin of notes she took during classes at Oberlin. After her boyfriend, who is the lead singer in a band and looks not unlike Marty Feldman in a wig, proposes to her, she dumps him and takes up with a marine biologist named Jonathan who is so twee and fey that the first time they kiss, he begs off because you "know what kissing leads to" and flaps his arms like a bird and flees Lizzy Caplan's apartment. What she sees in him is never adequately explained, unless she is looking for an 11-year-old boy in a cardigan and attempt at a beard.
Nothing really happens in the rest of the movie. People show up drunk to each other's apartments and it's awkward. People without any visible means of support occupy warehouse lofts in LA that must rent for $3000 a month. The same joke about bands with "wolf" in the name is deployed twice, landing flat both times. There is one plot twist that I won't spoil here but is so obvious and pointless you can see it coming a mile away and still don't give a shit.
I would really like to see a smart, modern romantic comedy that's not afraid to play with the conventions a little bit and features characters that somehow resemble people you actually know, instead of Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. Maybe that's what they were going for here. I don't know.
(We saw this on Comcast On Demand last night and I gather it's not in theaters yet so heads up, you've been warned well in advance.)
On the other hand, Cloud Atlas was great and you should definitely see that. It's big and sprawling and somewhat confusing but it's so interesting and thought-provoking that all else is forgiven, even Tom Hanks being somewhat miscast. Just the idea of translating that megalith of a book into something you can fit on the screen in a little under three hours is amazing to me. Hats off to the screenwriter for pulling that off.