Movie Review: 'Save the Date' -- 2.5 stars
Save the Date
Directed by Michael Mohan
Starring Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffery Arend
"Save the Date" takes place in hipster indie-land, that oh-so-familiar cinematic place populated by emotive twenty-something artists, manic pixie dream girls and the other stereotypes you'll find in movies and TV shows set in Williamsburg or, in this case, the urbane parts of Southern California.
You know where I mean: That world where characters dance to LPs, scope out bands called Wolf Bird in cool bars and spend their free time doodling completely unexceptional sketches that end up earning gallery shows.
It's a tired, clichéd setting, but that doesn't mean there isn't value in filmmaker Michael Mohan's depiction of a dysfunctional sisterly relationship unfolding within that world. Star Lizzy Caplan ("Party Down") is finally given the chance to stretch beyond her usual droll, snarky comic persona and there are moments of truth in the ways the screenplay deals with the pressures of marriage and pregnancy.
Caplan's Sarah, a bookstore manager and aspiring artist, moves in with boyfriend Kevin (Geoffery Arend) and immediately gets cold feet. Her unease is exacerbated when Kevin, who is also the aforementioned Wolf Bird's lead singer, publicly proposes after a show. Sarah's rejection transforms into a breakup, right when her sister Beth (Alison Brie) amps up her wedding plans to Kevin's best friend and bandmate Andrew (Martin Starr).
There's a fair amount of interpersonal tension here and a finely-tuned sense of how difficult it can be to live life on your own terms amid considerable social pressures. But "Save the Date" so resolutely adheres to indie conventions, down to conventional shots and predictable dramatic beats, that you can't take it seriously.