Friday, June 19, 2009

Review: Away We Go

Grade: A-

Away We Go is a sweet and funny movie about long time couple Burt Farlander, played by John Krasinski (TV’s The Office), and Verona De Tessant, played by Maya Rudolph (TV’s Saturday Night Live), who are expecting their first child. One day they go to visit Burt’s parents, played by Jeff Daniels (State of Play, Dumb and Dumber) and Catherine O’Hara (Orange County, Home Alone), and they tell the couple that they are moving to Belgium for two years, on top of that they are moving just one month before the baby is due. So Burt and Verona realize that the only thing keeping them in Colorado and in a trailer that is falling apart was Burt’s parents. The couple decides to go visit old friends and family in other cities and try to make a decision on where to start anew and to raise their family.

This movie was a very good and very sweet tale of the happily unmarried couple traveling all over the country reconnecting with old friends trying to decide what kind of environment they would like to raise their child in. Along the way they discover some real life problems that many families face and come across some very hard decisions. They have several discussions about their abilities as parents, they wonder if they are screw ups because they are both thirty something and don’t have life figured out yet. They realize of course that nobody really has life figured out, ever.

First stop is Arizona where they meet up with Verona’s old boss and friend Lily and her family. Lily, played by Allison Janney (Juno, TV’s West Wing) is a bit crazy and her husband Lowell, played by comedian Jim Gaffigan, has a very dreary look at life. You feel kind of bad for the kids because both are narcissistic and seem to barely care about their kids. Next they go to visit Verona’s sister Grace, played by Carmen Ejogo, where we learn a little bit about Verona’s upbringing and her parents who we learn earlier had passed away years before. Then it’s off to Wisconsin to visit Burt’s childhood friend LN. LN, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight, Stranger Than Fiction), and her husband Roderick are pretty much the definition of New Age extremist parenting to a disturbing degree that they reject strollers and have sex in front of their children. They quickly leave them to go to Montreal where some old College friends of theirs live. Their friends Tom, played by Chris Messina (Vicki Christina Barcelona) and Munch, played by Melanie Lynskey (TV’s Two and a Half Men), have 5 adopted children and these people seem to be the epitome of a happy family, but we soon learn that even if you do everything right life makes no promises. Then a frantic call from Burt’s brother Courtney sends the two to Miami. Courtney, played by Paul Schneider (TV’s Parks and Recreation), tells Burt that his wife has just left him and his daughter and he doesn’t know how to tell his daughter this sending the couple on another adventure involving the chaos of life.

All the performances in this movie were absolutely amazing. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph take a step out of the norm for their roles as the uncertain couple. Allison Janney is absolutely hilarious and outgoing and Jim Gaffigan played perfectly alongside her. Jeff Daniels and Catherine O’Hara were amusing as Burt’s parents. Maggie Gyllenhaal was hysterical as the New Age mother LN. The rest of the cast, including the children in the movie, all did a fantastic job.

Away We Go is a wonderful, funny and bittersweet ride that everyone should enjoy. It is defiantly an unconventional romantic comedy where the two main players are realistically in love with no ridiculous fights and despite all the problems they encounter their relationship never seems threatened. The writing was fantastic, it’s rated R but easily could have been PG-13 with minor changes but I appreciate that the writer’s didn’t compromise the realism of the movie for a rating.

Great quote: "I promise I will always love you, even if you get so fat that I can't find your vagina."

P.S. This is for the distributors of the movie. Why would you advertise the hell out of a movie life this showing trailers all over TV and in theaters, posters everywhere and then only release it into about 50 or 60 theaters across the country? I know so many people that want to see this but it's not playing anywhere near them. Then a movie like Easy Virtue which has had virtually no advertising is opeining in 10 major movie theaters in my area alone? Seriously, rethink your strategy.

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