After an ill-timed and very public marriage proposal, fiercely independent Sarah (Lizzy Caplan) breaks up with her overeager boyfriend Kevin (Geoffrey Arend). Sarah turns to her sister Beth (Alison Brie) for support, but Beth is too busy obsessing over the details of her own wedding to Kevin's band mate, Andrew (Martin Starr). When Sarah suddenly finds herself caught up in an intense rebound romance with the adorable Jonathan (Mark Webber), she is forced to examine her own fears of commitment and vulnerability and decide if she's better off staying safely single or risking everything on love. By turns funny, sad, and sweet, Save the Date is a heartfelt and sincere comedy about the familial and romantic bonds that hold us together.
‘Save the Date’ is a romantic comedy about the love lives of two sisters. While loyal indie romantic comedy fans may love this film merely because it echoes their favorite genre, this particular romantic comedy comes up short on both the romance and the comedy. Although it may capture the indie “feel”, it lacked the spark and originality that should be at the heart of an independent film. Even the stellar cast was unable to overcome the monotony of the story line.
‘Save the Date’ follows a bookstore employee and illustration artist Sarah (Lizzy Caplan) who is dating a musician Kevin (Geoffrey Arend). Sarah is a bit skittish about moving in with Kevin and on the first night she moves in, she tells him all the reasons she is going to be a terrible roommate. Hoping that her warnings will change his mind about living together, we clearly see she has commitment issues. Sarah’s sister Beth (Alison Brie) is engaged to Kevin’s band mate Andrew (Martin Starr).
The two of them are knee-deep in planning their wedding. Kevin, inspired by his friend’s relationship, decides to propose to Sarah in front of the entire audience at one of his band’s upcoming performances. The awkwardness of this scene was almost unbearable. I literally buried my head in my hands when he started to propose. I just couldn’t watch. Needless to say, the proposal goes horribly wrong. Sarah flees, leaving poor Kevin embarrassed in front of everyone. She moves out the next day.
One of Sarah’s bookstore customers by the name of Jonathan (Mark Webber) has had a serious crush on Sarah for a long time. Witnessing the botched proposal at the concert venue, he swoops in to take advantage of Sarah’s emotional turmoil. Jonathan, the nicest and sweetest guy in the film, is more than happy to be Sarah’s rebound so long as he has the opportunity to try to win her heart. While all of this is going on, Beth and Andrew are dealing with wedding planning with Beth being a “Bride-zilla”. A few unexpected twists and turns confront Sarah and Beth that will challenge them both and help them develop a more mature outlook on life.
Caplan, Webber, and Arend go beyond the typical silly comedy routine and show an amazing emotional range in their roles. Their acting allowed me to enjoy the film more than I should have. Although a few of the characters are borderline narcissists, they all have redeeming qualities that make you care for each one. I’ve seen this same story a million times before, and while director Michael Mohan has a stellar cast and some interesting plot techniques, ‘Save the Date’ runs out of steam and fizzles out way before it’s finished.
'Save The Date' comes with a 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This is shot on a low budget with cheaper HD cameras than the norm, and it shows here. The detail is sharp in several scenes where the lighting is bright, but other than that, the detail is softer than I'd like to see it. Most of the time, there is a soft look to the film with a somewhat flat image. But during the well-lit scenes, closeups reveal fine textures in the costumes and facial hair and makeup blemishes on the actor's faces.
Colors are on the warm side of things with some good browns, greens, and reds throughout. But nothing really pops off the screen with vibrancy. Black levels aren't as deep and inky as they should be, but the skin tones look very natural. There were some instances of some banding and video noise as well. Given the low budget and it being a dialogue driven film, you might overlook some of these problems, but be aware that they do exist.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and is average at best. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand, but seems to be a little too loud when compared to the rest of the mix. The sound effects and ambient noises sound good whether it be people at a concert cheering and drinking, or people at a party chattering.
It all flows from the surrounds nicely. The score always adds to the tone of the film and never drowns out any of the dialogue. The dynamic range is somewhat wide, but not as wide as I'd like to see it. This isn't the best audio presentation that I've seen, but it gets the job done for this indie comedy.
Audio Commentary - Writer/Director Michael Mohan gives an excellent commentary track that is full of life. This commentary track was recorded in his apartment as he discusses how difficult it was to shoot a film on location on a very small budget. He talks about filming, casting, working with the actors, some funny stories that happened on set, and the origins of the script. He even talks about his foot fetish. This is a must listen.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 4 mins.) - A few scenes with optional commentary from Mohan. These are quite fun to watch and could have easily have been added into the final cut.
Outtakes (HD, 2 mins.) - A short look at flubbed lines and accidents with props. Not the best gag reel.
'Accidents' (HD, 3 mins.) - A music video directed by Mohan.
Mini-Comic - A mini comic you can scroll through that shows screenwriter Jeffrey Brown's work on the film and its milestones in comic book form. This is very cool.
Trailers (HD, 4 mins.) - Trailers for the film.
'Save the Date' is a fun romantic comedy, but ultimately looses itself and goal before the end of the film. The movie has a good cast and should please some fans of this genre, but it doesn't stick around in the memory for long. The video and audio presentations are average at best, but there are some excellent extras here. 'Save the Date' doesn't do anything to change the romantic comedy game, but it might be worth a look for its great cast and decent story.