Sundance Review: Save Yourselves!
Raise your hand if you spend too much time on the Internet. If you get Snapchat or Instagram or Facebook or CNN notifications. If you find yourself just scrolling … and scrolling … and scrolling … through Twitter. Right, that’s everyone. So imagine that you and your significant other decide to take a leisurely vacation to an isolated cabin in the middle of the woods, and you pinky promise to turn off your phones. You spend some time baking bread, canoeing, and drinking. Life is grand. But at some point during this getaway - unbeknownst to you - aliens invade planet Earth. That’s the premise of Save Yourselves!, a hilarious sci-fi comedy from writer-directors (and real life couple) Eleanor Wilson and Alex Huston Fischer. I have not cry-laughed harder at a movie in a long time. The comedic moments are relatable but unexpected, and the film relies on physical comedy almost as much as it does on clever lines. Sunita Mani and John Reynolds deliver outstanding performances, slipping perfectly and convincingly into goofy hipster personas that provide an already interesting story with extra edge (can you imagine liberal Brooklynites battling aliens? exactly.). The second half of Save Yourselves! is less cohesive and compelling, though still quite funny. The energy that drives the first half of the film largely rests on dramatic irony; as soon as the characters learn about the alien invasion, that energy starts to dissipate. In part that may be a necessity of the premise -- the characters are unprepared and uninformed about the nature and scope of the invasion, so they don’t have, say, a flame-thrower or machine gun to light up any aliens standing in their way. Even though the second half of the film lags, Save Yourselves! is still a movie I plan to (eagerly!) revisit on any day I need a light comedic pick-me-up.