When the world comes to an end, where will you be? For Su and Jack a vacation to a remote Airbnb turns into a de facto bunker when aliens land in Brooklyn while they’re out of town. Adding to the confusion? They’ve decided to go phone-free while in the woods, blissfully unaware that their universe is rapidly unraveling while they innocently strive to reconnect with one another.
[Review contains spoilers.]
I have never been to a place more irritating than the actual Brooklyn, until I streamed this film. Late one weekend, after “attending” yet another virtual comedy show, my husband and I decided we were still in the mood for something funny. I’d read rave reviews about Save Yourselves! and confidently said, “This is it,” only to find myself apologizing two hours later. Nope, it wasn’t the end of the world (thankfully), but it was briefly the end of our good moods as we felt our smiles fade.
That’s not to say this film a total loss, as the leads are compelling. It’s exciting to see the rise of Sunita Mani (as Su) – I could watch the GLOW alum in just about anything. And John Paul Reynolds (as Jack) is a favorite from the delightful television series version of Four Weddings & a Funeral. The well-cast duo lent so much promise and it’s important to note that they both do a great job with the material they have here. The bulk of the screen-time is left to just the two of them and their uneasy chemistry adds to the crackling tension as the mysterious circumstances beyond their control ramp up.
So, what went wrong? Mainly the description. This is presented as a comedy and it’s really not – not even a dark one. There is nary a laugh the entire time. Instead it’s filled with a churning nervousness as we watch a couple bicker, briefly grapple with their new reality, and then ascend to Heaven… with a baby. If you’re thinking, “What the fuck?” rest assured, we were too. It was irritating not only to be sold a comedy that wasn’t a comedy, but also to be asked to embrace a religious parable coated in hipster sheen. I didn’t sign up to see Joseph and Mary. I was not amused, on either count. Instead, I felt angry.
There’s a lot to be said for forgoing your phone. We all have the social media-driven fear of missing out and the “what if?” if we unplug. Will disaster strike? And, wouldn’t you know, the one time they turn off, it does! There’s a great opportunity for a deeper comment on our addiction to technology, but the resolution is too mixed here. It is interesting to note that this was filmed before the pandemic (released in January of 2020) and it's a hoot that one of the things Jack wants to do in hopes of connecting with his earthier self is to bake sourdough bread. He was ahead of the curve! We all like to think we’re unique, but, as the saying goes – it really just comes down to fingerprints in the end.
I’m still not sure whether it was a trick on the behalf of marketing – “Slap the word ‘comedy’ on it and they will come,” – or if the filmmakers truly believe they’ve created a laugh-fueled flick. Regardless, someone is in the wrong. Perhaps if I’d been properly primed for what I was about to experience, I might’ve enjoyed it more. But, much like the cutely deceptive aliens, my expectations were left unfulfilled.
If you’re looking for a comedy, go elsewhere. If you’re craving a quiet drama with a lot of loose ends, stream away!