Save Yourselves! begins with a millennial Brooklynite couple arguing about open browser tabs — and ends in the outer reaches of space.
I walked into Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson’s film Save Yourselves! pretty much blind, and I came away pleasantly surprised.
It joins the pantheon of films like Night of the Comet, The World’s End, This Is the End and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World that explore human relationships while the world around them goes to hell in a handbasket. But, Save Yourselves! offers less extravagance in execution.
That opening disagreement over Jack (John Paul Reynolds) closing the tabs on Su’s (Sunita Mani) laptop subsides quickly. We meet their friends and learn their future plans. (Plans that totally won’t be interrupted, of course.) One friend has plans for a wedding involving a mariachi band but worries it may be too much like appropriation.
There are concerns voiced about making the world a better place and being better people in it. When they run across their friend, Raph (Ben Sinclair), he offers to lend his grandfather’s cabin for the weekend. It seems like just the thing they need to break away from the shackles of the modern world and, as Jack pines, a chance to get dirt under his fingernails.
They agree to turn off their devices and steer clear of social media and communication with anyone other than each other. As they start their vacation, there are little cues that things around them are amiss. What are those popping sounds? Ah, who cares. Let’s talk about Su’s book, How To Be a Better We and leftover quinoa, and make bad Sean Connery jokes.
And so the intention to leave behind their little Brooklynite bubble to experience nature puts them into another bubble under the guise of getting to know each other even better. Su confesses to eating her contact lenses while Jack expresses regret over not being good at doing “manstuff” like plumbing and gutting a fish.
The couple lose themselves in the moment so they miss seeing a guy getting killed by a green puffy Tribble-type thing. They gradually realize things may be amiss and eventually break their own self-imposed rules and find themselves facing off with these little “poofs.” But even then, in a moment of crisis, they still find time to rattle off gun stats at each other and voice fears of becoming “gun people.”
This premise is fun enough but the film’s greatest strength is its main characters. They’re cute. I wish I knew of a better adjective to call them. Maybe endearing? That sounds better. They’re also lovable, in spite of obnoxious flaws and self-absorbed idealism, which makes them even more endearing.
It’s a testament to Mani’s and Reynold’s talent and the screenplay by Fischer and Wilson. It would’ve been really easy to just create one-dimensional millennial stereotypes but they went beyond that: imbuing Su and Jack with charm while they bumble their way through an apocalypse and into yet another bubble of sorts. It was fun watching a goofy apocalypse movie to forget the apocalypse.