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Review: Charm, flimsiness pair up in 'Save the Date'

December 13, 2012|By Sheri Linden
  • Lizzy Caplam as "Sarah" in the movie "Save the Date," directed by Michael Mohan.
Lizzy Caplam as "Sarah" in the movie "Save the Date,"… (Elisha Christian / IFC Films )

As sisters who are involved with musicians and facing turning points that feel far less momentous than they're meant to be, charismatic performers Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie lend the lightweight rom-com "Save the Date" more than its fair share of watchability. But the film is never truly interesting.

Caplan, who played a more acerbic version of her role here in "Bachelorette," is the relationship-averse Sarah, one of those quirky, nonsuffering artists who, naturally, is about to have her first solo show. Her trepidatious decision to move in with guitarist Kevin (Geoffrey Arend) is cheered on by her more conventional sister, Beth (Brie).

Consumed with the trivia-writ-large of planning her own wedding, Beth, like most believers in traditional romance, is eager for others to join the fold. But Sarah wisely uses the occasion of Kevin's all-too-public proposal to hightail it back to singledom, where she promptly takes up with a smitten marine biologist (Mark Webber).

His unconvincing profession gives director Michael Mohan — who uses fresh Los Angeles locations throughout — the chance to set one of the couple's conversations before an aquarium tank.

Mohan, who wrote the screenplay with graphic novelist Jeffrey Brown (creator of Sarah's gallery-ready cartoons) and Egan Reich, doesn't push beyond the surface, framing the action at face value rather than with an eye toward insight.

Even when the dialogue is forced, Brie ("Mad Men," "Community") and Caplan communicate sisterly rivalry and affection. As Beth's drummer fiancé, Martin Starr rises above the flimsy proceedings with effortless charm, creating the only grownup in the bunch.

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"Save the Date." MPAA rating: R for sexual content, language and brief drug use. Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes. At Sundance Sunset Cinema, West Hollywood.

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