“Save Yourselves!” could not be a more perfect film with which to end this inexplicable time blob called a year. Jack and Su are a young couple who find themselves in an unprecedented global situation for which they are totally unprepared, and their panic will surely resonate with beleaguered viewers. Hilarious, wry and just a little bit scary, “Save Yourselves!” puts two characters with wonderful chemistry and timing into a situation that would have seemed ludicrous in 2019, and now comes off as a clever metaphor for real life. A major plot point involves sourdough starter; it is of the zeitgeist.
The majority of screen time in this wry little misadventure is spent simply between Su and Jack. Sunita Mani of “GLOW” plays Su and John Reynolds, who starred in the very hilarious and perhaps similar show “Search Party,” plays Jack, and they serve up millennial stereotypes with love and kindness. In their hands, their earnestness is both silly and sincere. They are loveable, not detestable, and even with all their quirks and affectations, they truly want to be good people.
Chained to their cell phones and laptops, Su and Jack decide to disconnect from everything and do some work on themselves when a friend offers them a cabin in Upstate New York. I cannot stress enough how amusing their dialogue is. Their reliance on technology is so recognizable, you can physically feel their need to Google questions that come up, with increasing urgency. I could have simply enjoyed their well-intentioned fumbling for the entire film, but the plot had other ideas and placed these two soft-handed babies in a science-fiction movie. As they triumphantly snap off their phones, we see worrisome sights in the sky.
If you suspect giving up texting, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter would be the end of the world, “Save Yourselves!” will validate you, because it actually is the end of the world. A lot of the humor comes from their blissful ignorance of the fate of the world while they’re trying to stop themselves from looking online, and reminded me of the beginning of “Shaun of the Dead.” But, while that comedy increased the physical action, what I loved most about “Save Yourselves!” was how low key it stayed, even when the aliens finally show up. The couple had to be their version of heroic, and it looked very much like how most of us would probably be if it came down to defending ourselves.
The aliens themselves are deceptively soft looking, resembling that famous sci-fi critter the tribble, and their first appearance is dismissed by Su as a previously unnoticed ottoman, which ends up being lethal. The pair’s discussion about an old shotgun they find in the house perfectly exemplifies the humor of their characters and situation. They still revert to their gun safety statistics and rhetoric, despite the more pressing issue of the end of the world.
It’s conceivable a viewer could find Su and Jack more annoying than endearing, and if they rub you the wrong way, you will probably be pulling for the aliens to kill them. But I sympathized with these babes in the woods, and as their predicament ratcheted up in seriousness, I felt genuine suspense and concern, even while a whimsical air of the ridiculous hangs over the entire film.
In 2020, we have all doom-scrolled in horror and felt whiplash from the news cycle, and we now know all too well the feeling of the unbelievable coming true. So far — SO FAR — furry aliens haven’t wiped out life on Planet Earth, but “Save Yourselves!” feels much more relevant than a pithy, droll comedy about millennials fighting aliens has any right to be. Watch and enjoy it before it goes from comedy to documentary.
“Save Yourselves!” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.
New This Week
“Wonder Woman 1984”: Wonder Woman squares off against Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal of “The Mandalorian”) and the Cheetah (Kristen Wiig), a villainess who possesses superhuman strength and agility. All listed multiplex theaters, Nexus Cinema Dining, HBO Max.
“Fatale”: A married man’s (Michael Ealy) life turns into a living nightmare when he has a one-night stand with a manipulative woman (Hilary Swank) who turns out to be a detective. All listed multiplex theaters.
“News of the World”: Five years after the end of the Civil War, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl taken by the Kiowa people. Forced to return to her aunt and uncle, Kidd agrees to escort the child across the harsh and unforgiving plains of Texas. However, the long journey soon turns into a fight for survival as the traveling companions encounter danger at every turn — both human and natural. Nexus Cinema Dining, Crescent Theater.
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