Save Yourselves! Review: Awkward Time for an Invasion
See, this is why I never put my phone down.
Come with me on a journey where I explore a problem that you may know all too well. Imagine somebody sitting on a couch with their significant other. They have their phones up to their faces and there’s silence. Very few words are spoken outside of a couple grumbles, maybe a mumble; there many be some commentary about what they are witnessing on their screens. Before these people know it, hours have gone by and day has become night. Then a day becomes a week. A week becomes a month. A month becomes years and so on and so forth. Then when these people try to remove their telephones from the equation the planet gets attacked.
Okay, so maybe that last sentence isn’t relatable, but I’m sure for many of you reading this the rest of it probably hits a little close to home. Mobile phones are amazing inventions but they also consume a lot of time; time that could be spent talking to the person beside you, time that could be spent enjoying human interactions.
Enter Su and Jack, a Brooklyn couple who put their phones away long enough to go on a vacation. They want to get back to the way their lives were, back when they focused on each other. The only way to do that is to discard their phones, at least temporarily. They have to disconnect to reconnect, so they swear to ignore the constant pull of the little devices that always occupy our pockets and go off to a cabin. The problem is, once they’ve retreated from civilization then the aliens attack.
I adore this premise. I didn’t have to see a trailer because I was attracted to it from the moment I heard. It’s a novel little twist on the romantic comedy because it’s a little out there while being grounded in reality. The strength is the subtle critique of modern life that the set-up affords the writers, where people are so caught up in what’s going on in their friend groups or around the world that they forget that the meaningful life is most likely standing there telling them to get off their phones.
It’s the “Giant Refresh,” that pull/dopamine hit you get from constantly refreshing your apps such as Facebook, Twitter or Tinder. The subversion comes from the fact that once they decide to reject the mobile pleasures of their existence then the world literally falls into disarray. That in itself makes me chuckle, but the gentle ribbing of the FOMO–fear of missing out for you less hip people–philosophy is what really delights me. Sure, if you don’t refresh social media you may miss out on some cute animal pictures or pictures of your daughter’s wedding, but what about if aliens invaded your home? Now that’s something.
As much as I like the story I would say that the rest of the flick serves a very specific purpose. I could never say that it’s great or that it lives up to its massive potential, but I would also insist that there are certain merits on display here. It performed all its tasks well but not miraculously.
For example, the chemistry between Sunita Mani and John Reynolds is believable but unpolished. Fleshed out enough to be entertaining and worth investing some time in, but not a fantastic duo that we are going to admire for years to come. They play off each other decently and are given some good lines to contend with, but the script wasn’t developed enough to make them truly memorable. It shot for it occasionally but it stayed within certain boundaries, unable to make the leap to a more profitable outcome.
The same applies to the drama and the comedy. There are some choice gags and some witty lines, but there’s not enough of them to stand tall among the comedies in recent years, and there’s not enough dramatic tension or escalation to make it soar above the sea of dramas that we get. But as a dramedy it’s still relatively effective because it does just enough in both categories to never feel like a waste of time.
It may also contain the cutest alien invasion I’ve seen in a movie. I’d have to look at all the movies I’ve seen to know for sure but the hostiles are hard to hate at first because their appearance is so lovable. It’s a welcome change from expected alien design and while elementary visually, it’s still an inspired decision. You’re reminded pretty quickly why it will likely suck if aliens invade the planet, but for a fleeting moment I wondered if they might be harmless. While that would be a neat twist in itself, it probably wouldn’t have made for the most stimulating experience.
Ultimately, if you’re ever in a situation where you just had a rough day–or a long one, even–and you just want to turn on a program that is a little fluffy or easy to digest, you really can’t go wrong with Save Yourselves! I liken it to junk food in a sense: it’s not a full-course dinner but you don’t always want a dinner. Sometimes you just want to devour candy and that’s fulfilling in the short term but you couldn’t have a diet that solely consisted of sugar. There’s nothing wrong with that.
So it ends up being a case where perhaps it could have gone further, and maybe everything could have been a tad stronger. Yet it doesn’t have any ugly facets and it doesn’t do anything poorly. If there’s any justice Save Yourselves! will catch on because it’s so easily absorbable and so simple to recommend to others. It demands very little to be enjoyable.
THAT'S ENOUGH, GET TO THE SCORE
SAVE YOURSELVES FROM BAD MOVIES BY WATCHING THIS ONE!
Save Yourselves! may not be out of this world (sorry) amazing but it’s a light watch in a positive way. It’s easy to unload your day when this is on because it doesn’t insist upon itself or challenge you, but that’s okay… we need cinema like that sometimes.