Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie deserve better than a contrived rom-com.

They’re two of the most hilarious, likable, talented most gorgeous actors working today. They’ve been in brilliant comedies (Party Down, Glow, Community) and dramas (True Blood, Masters of Sex, Mad Men) alike. They are most peoples’ dream girls — sans “manic pixie,” thank you — regardless of gender or sexual orientation. They’re the best.

Save the Date, however, is the worst. I watched it purely for the cast — those two, plus Martin Starr and Geoffrey Arend amount to what I thought would be a recipe for success, but it was achingly disastrous. I’d like to think that, despite my growing cynicism, I still have it in me to suspend my disbelief and enjoy a rom-com every once in awhile. But it’s impossible when the rom-com doesn’t give you much to work with.

Caplan is Sarah and Brie is Beth. They’re sisters who are dating bandmates, Andrew (Starr) and Kevin (Arend), respectively. Sarah’s more of a mess and Beth is more put together, which explains why Sarah cannot handle Kevin’s proposal of marriage and Beth cannot understand why she can’t handle it, because her wedding panning is going very smoothly. Sarah is an artist who also works at a bookstore and Beth… honestly I don’t remember what Beth does because it’s not important. What’s important is that she’s someone’s fiancee!

Despite being the main characters of the movie, neither of them are nuanced or believable. They inhabit incredibly boring stereotypes we’ve seen before — the put-together younger sister and the free-spirited older sister. One always wears pearls and one always wears plaid. They fight and make up. It’s kind of pathetic that this sort of movie is still being made in 2017, honestly. A straight female character can have some of her shit together some of the time. It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. And she doesn’t need to wear combat boots in the summer.

After breaking things off with Kevin, Sarah starts things up with a bookstore patron who had been crushing on her. Switching from “Kevin” mode to “Jonathan” mode, we see an even more unbearable side of her: a needy, self-obsessed side that I simply could not buy from Caplan. Making matters worse, Sarah’s friends in the movie are even more vapid than she is, which only emphasizes how prone she is to making terrible choices. Caplan is way too cool, and way too self-respecting in real life, to pull off portraying someone that shallow with a world that small. Of course, neediness and self-obsession are perfectly normal human qualities, but knowing little else about Sarah forces those qualities to be magnified in the movie. Caplan is stooping to overdramatic, MPDG levels. In short: she sucks!

By the end of the movie, I was deeply disappointed in its unnecessary baggage. The cast of Save the Date gave it so much potential, and their magnetism was wasted on a script that didn’t take a single risk.


Jesse Eisenberg got his sexy on in this movie. How cute!

I think I’m one of the few girls who considers this guy a sex symbol, and it’s movies like Adventureland that exemplify my reasoning. The idea stems from the Seth Cohen appeal—the mumbling, bumbling intellectual who’s a good guy but also a horny dude, the one with morals branded into his conscience by his parents, dreams and aspirations up the wazoo, it’s all there in Seth Cohen. Jesse Eisenberg’s characters—and James in this particular movie—have all of those qualities, but they lack the ego that Seth Cohen gradually inflated for himself. They aren’t concerned with what other people like, which makes them not geeky but just unique. Eisenberg can really play a leading man for that reason, because while he can play the self-conscious guy, he’s far more appealing without that cloud hanging over his head. And by appealing, I mean hot.

This movie is a sweet, semi-predictable rom-com, but the ambiguity that each of the actors brings to it is remarkably believable. Kristen Stewart, as Emme, doesn’t know what she wants from James, or from whatever the hell Ryan Reynolds’ character’s name was. James doesn’t know what he wants from Emme or from Lisa J, the storybook hottie. And all the other characters are stuck at this theme park, wasting away their summers and getting high, trying to muster some strength to get out of their small town. Or not. I don’t necessarily think there was a point for them to get out. None of the characters had definite aspirations or plans or any of those things. That notion is believable, and that’s why I liked it.

In the end, James took a risk and moved to New York for Emme. But it wasn’t an incredibly triumphant journey; he did it because it was the next logical thing to do. A logical risk, if that makes any sense. And from that standpoint, the movie’s “turning point” was a lot more relatable than other get-the-girl happy endings I’ve seen. He wasn’t just moving for her, he was moving for himself because he’d been pigeonholed into a boring summer, and he decided to pursue the one good thing from that three-month period. (Who cares if that one good thing is Bella Swan?) It’s a nice, simple lesson we can all learn from.

Freaks and Geeks

This is another show that got a TON of buildup from the likes of co-workers, and other people I’m sure of but can’t remember. And I will say that it definitely grew on me. But it wasn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as I had hoped, and I did hope. I thought that I might like Judd Apatow’s work back when he was young, back when Seth Rogen was a child rather than a man-child, back when everything was innocent. And I suppose I did. But when it comes down to it, I just don’t think I find the same stuff funny as this guy does. It’s cool though, I guess.

I didn’t hate it though! Like I said, it grew on me. Each individual character was phenomenal; what a treat to see Jason Segel and James Franco and Busy Phillipps and Linda Cardellini kicking ass when they were too young to quite know how much ass they were really kicking. They were all so pure and real and honest on the screen, awkward moments captured, real lives revealed, all that. These characters are some of the most real teenagers ever portrayed on television, and perhaps that’s why this short-lived show resonated with so many people. I for one was a huge fan of the geeks — I found myself laughing more at them than at the freaks, and Apatow definitely took the freaks and ran with them into a huge moneymaking film franchise, so maybe that’s where I differ. Samm Levine is a brilliant comedic actor, as is Martin Starr. And how can you not love John Francis Daley? That face.

There were so many great guest spots, too, like Samaire Armstrong and Rashida Jones and David Krumholtz. How delightful to see them at that age, too. The whole experience looked so incredibly fun, and while I am a little sad that the show was cancelled, I think it ended well. Not everything was wrapped up, and yet it ended perfectly. Seeing Lindsay float on in that bus on the way to the Grateful Dead road trip was exactly what the show was about — being fickle. Teenagers are fickle. Daniel Desario is like the dictionary definition of fickle. Lindsay was taught her whole life not to be fickle, but she was also fortunate enough not to have horribly restrictive parents — and that’s realistic, too.

I just want to point out how much more in love with Jason Segel I am now, though. What a talented person. He wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he did the vampire puppet thing, he’s on HIMYM, he’s acted in so much stuff and he plays everything so consistently. I want to be like him.