Where to start with Away We Go.Well, it’s the first road movie I’ve come across that doesn’t just focus on the journey, but on the destination.
But it’s not a road movie.
It’s the first novel I’ve seen on screen that really should have stayed on paper.
But it was never a novel.
It’s a great date film, as long as you and your date don’t mind arguing later over the film.Not over individual scenes.But over the entire film.Hands down, if you’re a guy, this film is not for you.If you’re a gal, you’ll probably love it.
Away We Go has a strong team behind the production.Director Sam Mendes has done some remarkable work, with some of film’s greatest actors.Dave Eggers is renowned for his perspective, his abilities, and his writing.But, and here we go again with that damn conjunction, but sometimes solid talents and thoughtful ideas and even life stories, or stories about life, don’t always translate onto screen.
Away We Go strains to be the alternative buddy movie.A tale of searching, not for the America of Ben Braddock’s “The Graduate,” or even the certain opportunity that Gib Gibson sought in “The Sure Thing.”Even with elements familiar in each, the searching here is more significant, more elusive, and ultimately, found.
John Krasinski’s Burt Farlander and Maya Rudolph’s Verona De Tessant are 30-somethings lost in their love for another, a bit distant from the everyday world, and about to have their first child.Stiff armed by Burt’s parents (Catherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels) in the film’s purely funniest scenes, the loving couple embark upon a search for the perfect place to raise their child.
Turning to friends, family, and others, they learn that people change over time, appearances can be deceiving, warmth and love can sometimes smother, and coldness and isolation can even be found in the warmest of climates.
Though not married, and divided over the institution, they continue to question the issues and problems inherent with others, and in other relationships.And here’s where the film drags.The punch line in these instances is hardly worth the set up.We know already how each scene is going to end.With our searching couple on the road, heading to the next city, for the next lesson.
Still, they persevere, and through happenstance, visiting the one location they had not planned, they pledge to one another love, faith, fidelity, trust, and above all, guarantee to never have to talk ever again about searching for Verona’s vagina.(OK, a teaser there.For that part you’ll have to see the film to understand.)
Had this script been just a story in print, it would have worked.It reads well as a script.But it flows too slowly, relies on acting devices better suited for stage than screen, and has a hard time moving an audience.If you’re looking for a post-film debate on date night, with “Away We Go” you’ve found something to discuss.