‘Save the Date’

In Save the Date Lizzy Caplan has heart-to-heart with her b.f.Embarrassing Moment No. 6: You dramatically propose to your girlfriend in a nightclub crowded with friends and strangers. After a look of horror passes over her face, she turns and runs out the exit. Fast.

A decent enough inciting incident for a movie about romantic angst and the rebound effect, but “Save the Date,” which concerns the girlfriend and not the guy, traffics in the most banal situations and whiny characters imaginable.

Not only don’t save the date, avoid seeing this movie altogether. It’ll be on cable TV soon enough if you’re determined to wallow twenty-something self-absorption.

Lizzy Caplan plays commitment-phobe Sarah whose default is petulant complaints. She has just moved in with boyfriend Kevin (Geoffrey Arend) although she’s terrified of giving up even this much independence. She manages a L.A. bookstore and more or less hates the job (or so she says).

In Save the Date Mark Webber and Lizzy Caplan share romantic embraceHer sis Beth (Alison Brie) is happily engaged to Andrew (Martin Starr), who forms a two-man band with Kevin. Jonathan (Mark Webber), a bookstore customer who secretly pines for Sarah, witnesses Jonathan’s humiliation at the nightclub where the band performs.

He quickly insinuates himself as Sarah’s rebound lover. But it isn’t long before Sarah gets her undies in a twist over any commitment to Jonathan as well. Then the unforeseen happens which forces her to grow up whether Sarah wants to or not.

As exasperating as these situations are for an audience, even more trying is the utterly wimpy nature of all the characters. Writers Jeffrey Brown, Egan Reich and Michael Mohan (who directs) seem to have cut all their characters from the same cloth.

Everyone acts, talks and behaves the same way and that includes the young women’s parents when they turn up. The movie might better have been called “Déjà Vu” for its incessantly repetitive scenes and behave-alike characters.

While a small matter, Mohan and d.p. Elisha Christian have managed to film in some of the least attractive and most nondescript sections of L.A. they could discover.

Opens: December 14, 2012 (IFC Film)
Production company: A Gilbert Films, Night & Day Pictures and Huffington Prods. production
Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend, Mark Webber, Melonie Diaz, Timothy Busfield
Director: Michael Mohan
Screenwriters: Jeffrey Brown, Egan Reich, Michael Mohan
Producers: Jordan Horowitz, Michael Huffington, Michael Roiff
Executive producer: Gary Gilbert
Director of photography: Elisha Christian
Production designers: Cindy Chao, Michele Yu
Music: Hrishikesh Hirway
Costume designer: Mirren Gordon-Crozier
Editor: Christian Masini
No rating, 96 minutes