Save The Date Is The Poor Man’s Version Of (500) Days Of Summer

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Geoffrey Arend Save the Date Lizzy CaplanBefore you get the wrong idea, Save The Date is actually a pretty good movie. The idea is great, the writing is strong, and everyone involved does a great job, acting-wise. It's just…not quite there.

The story is about a girl named Sarah, played by Lizzy Caplan, who is about to move in with her boyfriend Kevin, played by Geoffrey Arend. He has a band, he's quirky, and he's totally in love with her, and she is so. totally. overwhelmed. I do have to admit that it was really awesome and refreshing to see the girl be the one who's scared of commitment, instead of the guy. I don't have hard-line statistics for how that goes down in real life, but in Hollywood it can start to feel like it's the girls who push and the guys who run, like 90% of the time. So this was nice, and really well acted. You see exactly why Sarah feels so boxed in by Kevin, and even why she feels guilty for it. You see her subtly trying to scare him away by talking about what a bad roommate she'll be, and him obliviously absorbing it and stroking her hair, effusing about how beautiful she is and how in love with her he is while they have sex and she covers his mouth to shut him up.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Sarah's sister Beth, played by Alison Brie, who is engaged to Kevin's best friend Andrew, played by Martin Starr. They're calmly, steadily in love — we get to see their gentle bickering, mostly brought on by the stress of the wedding and quickly eased by a loving gesture. This is a couple that we feel will last, but it's nice that the writing still chose to keep them mellow instead of head-over-heels. They provide the perfect juxtaposition to Sarah and Kevin. And then and then and THEN Kevin proposes to Sarah. In front of a huge audience at one of his concerts, right after she's run into Jonathan, a guy who has the crazy hots for her, played by Mark Webber. Even though Beth and Andrew both told Kevin not to do it, he does it anyway. And I'm not revealing anything to say that Sarah says ‘no'. If you've been watching the movie, you know she will from the beginning. She also breaks up with Kevin, because she can't believe he didn't know her well enough to know she wouldn't want to be proposed to in public. But he didn't technically do anything wrong except love her more than she loved him. Lizzy Caplan Mark Webber Save The Date 500 Days Of SummerThat's actually my favorite part of the movie — the fact that there are two excellent examples of male specimens in it. I'm not gonna give anything else away about the plot after this, but she ends up hooking up with Jonathan. Oh calm down, his name and picture are on the poster, you knew that was coming. So yeah. Two excellent guys, one very likable girl who's confused and feeling guilty for not liking this wonderful guy more than she does. What does that sound like to you? Because it sounds a lot like (500) Days Of Summer to me. Lizzy Caplan is the Zooey Deschanel character, who we really want to love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but she can't because she doesn't, no matter how much he loves her. That part of the story rang really true to me, it just didn't have the depth of (500) Days. It didn't make me feel things as strongly, I think because the writers were unwilling to make Lizzy's character unlikable. In Save The Date, you never feel like anybody is leading anybody else on. They think about what they want, and say it. They don't drag anything out, or make mistakes, or say things they don't mean. They're kind and respectful and they move on. In (500) Days Of Summer, it's messier, realer. You identify with the characters more because they're not as mature. They're figuring themselves out while you watch instead of quietly, inside their heads. Summer doesn't understand her true feelings about Tom until she's already hurt him and moved on, whereas in the other movie, Sarah seems to understand herself almost before she's asked.

On the one hand its nice to see such clarity from characters, but on the other hand…I'm looking for some schadenfreude here, guys. I totally don't have it together, so it hurts the precious when you're so far ahead.

(Image: IMDB)