Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: Movie Review: Away We Go

Friday, July 3, 2009

Movie Review: Away We Go

by Lissette Decos In Away We Go, John Krasinksi (The Office) and a restrained—and pregnant—Maya Rudolph(Saturday Night Live) play Burt and Verona, a very much in love couple who set off in search of a new home for their growing family. These two can wander freely because they are, like most thirtysomethings nowadays, unmarried and still don’t have a baby. And like most thirtysomethings nowadays they have too many options and find it difficult making decisions (this may just be me). So away they go with the flow to check out some random cities where they happen to know someone until they find the one that feels right. These characters have the kind of relationship you want. Ok, the kind I want. They know each other so well that when they are together it’s like they are in on their own secret. They are cool and calm and say smart things to each other and nothing phases them. Well, except having a baby. So they are stumped, and try to pick up what they can from the families they meet along the way. There’s angry/drunk families; adoptive families a la Brangelina; and the ultimate so-Earth-friendly-it’s-hazardous family whose mom is played by Maggie Gyllenhaal in an excellent performance. Much better than The Dark Knight. And Stranger than Fiction. Combined. Maya doesn’t do any of her usual SNL slapstick, and maybe that’s why it felt strange to hear her normal voice. It felt like she was forcing a foreign accent. Like Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love. This film is also a stretch—though a clearly comfortable one—for director Sam Mendes, who breaks his usual character with this sweet, light, and innocent comedy. At the heart of the loving couple in this film is another loving couple. The script was written by real-life literary “it” couple Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) and Vendela Vida. These two are successful novelists who got the idea for this film when they were pregnant with their first child and entered the whole new world of crazy strangers giving you parenting advice. Which leads me to one of my many frustrations. Should talented people be allowed to collaborate let alone marry? Should talented people in one field be allowed to enter and conquer another? Should the laws of monopoly prevent these things? Ugh. But I will give them this, they have created the most intimate pregnancy test scene of all time. At least that I have seen. So far. In a movie. That moment is only plausible because this is one intimate couple. So close that I would dare say their search for a new home is somewhat in vain, because this couple is always at home when they are together (Yes, cheesy, so what? Back off, I need a date with John Krasinski!). And because you’ve read this far, I’ll give you my too analytical (and definitely wrong) theory about the film: it’s all about going back into the womb—let’s face it—our first home.


Ryan McNeil said...

Very well said! This movie had a deep effect on me - it made me want to come hom and be a better partner.

Is that a cheesy thing to say? Oh well, I said it anyway...

Alfredo Bergna said...

You're right, no doubt about it, we live in an age of "option-saturation", which makes people strive for the next best thing on a very "a.d.d." fashion, even when on many cases, it's just a mirage.

Not necessarily the kind of movie I'd normally watch, but your review definitely sparks some interesting thoughts... I think I'll check it out.

Great review, rock on!

Tony Dayoub said...

I wasn't a big fan of this film. As usual, I feel like Mendes has an outsider's perspective on the American lifestyle that undermines the stories he chooses to tell (with the exception of Road to Perdition, where it worked since in a sense he was depicting the gangster genre rather than true gangsters). American Beauty worked better for me because Alan Ball's script seemed to be over the top enough to overcome Mendes' staid persona.

But Away We Go seemed to be screaming for an pull-all-the-stops comedic treatment a la David O. Russell's Flirting with Disaster, another road movie very reminiscent of the former. Jeff Daniels, Catherine O'Hara, Allison Janney, and Maggie Gyllenhaal's respective characters were outsized enough that the film seemed to demand that it be more cartoony and less realistic.

That being said, I was still very impressed with Maya Rudolph's natural ability, especially in the dramatic moments, and would love to see what someone like Paul Thomas Anderson (are they still together) would do with her in one of his pieces.

ale h said...

I have not seen the movie, but I've seen the trailer quite a lot (cutting promos for it) and your review really fills in the gaps.

and you're right, John K is SO cute.