Jun 7, 2009

And Away...WE...Go!

Away We Go follows Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph), an unmarried couple who are preparing to have a child together. They live in the middle of nowhere in a house that looks like a sneeze could blow it over. They can work from home (or via telephone) so the only real tie to their current residence is that it's close to Burt's parents. With Verona's parents deceased, they want to be close to Grandma and Grandpa. But when Burt's folks announce they'll be moving overseas, the couple decide to take up stakes and go searching for "home". They plot a course hitting up major cites that have one acquaintance or another that could be their friends if the choose to start their new lives there. As you'd expect, misadventure and hijinks ensue.

Away We Go
is certainly a charming little film. Its characters feel like real people in real life situations. Granted, they're strange, uncomfortable situations with odd-ball (and often loose) acquaintances, but never anything outlandish. Or least it wouldn't feel that way if the film treated them a little more seriously. With the exception of the leads, Burt and Verona, every character feels heavy handed. I don't blame the characters in the script so much the actor's use of the characters. It's like they read the script thinking they would be alongside Maya in a series of SNL sketches. That sort of over-the-top caricature acting works if that's what the source material is requiring. Take Christopher Guest movies, for instance. But I don't feel that's what Away We Go was trying to be. It' a sweet, poignant film about love, family, and the meaning of home. Oh, and being scared silly of bringing a life into the world. How can you care for a life when you don't even know how to live your own? As their journey progresses and they encounter bad parent after bad parent, you start to realize they're going to be wonderful parents. This hits you during an impromptu puppet show the two give for Burt's neice as they are tucking her into bed. Maybe love is family and family is home?

Overall, I enjoyed this film. It was hard for me to warm up to it, and again, I wish it took itself a bit more seriously, but the good bits outweigh the bad. Don't force jokes to try and make things funny. Let the humor of the situation reveal itself. You may want to strangle almost everyone Burt and Verona meet along the way(Maggie Gyllenhaall's character LN! Ugh!), but that makes you love the couple all the more. Life can be scary and nobody has all of the answers. People are different and there is no definitive right or wrong way to live your life or to raise a child. In this case it took a cross country trip and a lot of soul searching to come to a conclusion they knew all along. As The Beatles say, "All You Need Is Love".

1 comment:

  1. Really good review. I think I was biased going into the movie though, because I think Dave Eggers is one of the most fantastic people on the planet.