Away We Go

2010-04-09 16:33
Away We Go

What it's about:

A couple who is expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover "home" on their own terms for the first time.

What we thought:

This thirty-something slacker movie about true lovers trying to find a place of safety in which to have their child is full of quirks. It’s packed with thoughtful, independent commentary on parenting. The characters are lovably, humorously hopeful despite their failure to succeed by this world’s standards. But if this movie were adapted from a book (it’s not), the book would have been better than the movie.

Away We Go starts by the book, with a sex scene. A very funny sex scene in which you can almost er… smell the fun, and in which you instantly get to know the two main characters, Verona De Tessant (Maya Rudolph) and Burt Farlander (John Krasinski). He sells property rentals. She draws medical pictures. This was not their childhood dream.

Neither of them are hot-looking, but the more you watch them, the more beautiful they each become. In fact, the movie is worth watching, even if only for Maya Rudolph’s sweetly humorous performance.

And all the way through, with its hilarious portraits of lives they visit and sometimes hope to share – that of the doting grandparents, unhappily marrieds with overweight offspring, Ivy-league nutcases, liberal middle-class torment in Canada – each stop along the way lovingly uncovers the rot beneath people’s pretentions. It explores the human delusion that something as complicated as a relationship with someone to whom you gave life could ever be simple, can be cracked with a "method". Parents will be cringing with delight and recognition. Children of all ages will see glimpses of their parents along the way.

The America in this movie is without gloss, but not without glory. It’s no American Beauty (1999), but it has a quiet beauty all of its own. Away We Go may a cult classic when a new generation of parents grows up.

Unfortunately, this movie's not so much good as a whole as for its very memorable moments. It’s clear what it’s about, but somehow a central character, someone to care about, seems missing.

In the end, Away We Go lacks momentum. By the time it reaches its abrupt, awkward, but appropriately inconclusive end you’re still an outsider, looking in, wondering who matters. For fans of adorable oddities The Tao of Steve (2000), and Julia Has Two Lovers (1991) though, it’s a must-see.

A potential cult classic full of memorable moments that doesn’t quite hold together.

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