Sarah can’t help it—men just fall head over heels in love with her at the drop of a hat. No sooner has she moved in with her boyfriend than he proposes; no sooner does she turn down his proposal than she meets her new boyfriend. What’s a girl to do but alternate between sulkiness that so many men desire her and vivaciousness that so many awesome men desire her?
As embodied by Lizzy Caplan in “Save the Date,” Sarah’s conundrum at least feels believable. Caplan has always exuded an attractively tart appeal, like Rachel McAdams’ slightly Goth younger sister. But she doesn’t have much to do in “Save the Date” other than present conflicted emotions. “Relationships are so complicated!” is the general gist of Jeffrey Brown’s script—and those relationships extend to Sarah’s with her bride-to-be sister Beth, who has the good fortune to be brought to life by Alison Brie, of “Community” and “Mad Men” fame.
Unfortunately, just as Sarah is conventionally disheveled and bohemian, Beth is typically Type A about her impending nuptials, shouting at her fiancé about invitations and pouting that Sarah’s personal dramas are detracting from her big day, eight months away. Brie and Caplan have a believable dynamic as sisters, but Brown and director Michael Mohan don’t exploit that chemistry enough, coasting on their prickly fights rather than allowing either actor to present something that goes deeper.
Every romcom lives and dies by its central romance, and “Save the Date” is no different. Keeping it from languishing is Mark Webber as Sarah’s new beau Jonathan, a geeky-sexy bearded guy who worships her for her complications (the modern fantasy equivalent of a rich man taking a woman away from “all that”) and is so clumsy and sheepish that he can’t help but be adorable. The repartee that Caplan and Webber sling at one another isn’t in the same league as what Hepburn and Tracy had, but the two actors make it light, bubbly, and infectious. Any movie with a central couple worth rooting for is always a find; it’s just a shame that “Save the Date” was content to settle for just that.
Critic’s Score B-
Directed by Michael Mohan
Casting by Rich Delia
Starring Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, and Mark Webber