Saturday, October 17, 2009

Away We Go (2009)

Decision made... Written by husband-wife novelists Vendela Vida and Dave Eggers as they expected their first child, Away We Go revolves around a couple awaiting the birth of their first child. Verona, (Maya Rudolph) is a medical illustrator (a past job for Eggers). Burt (John Krasinski) is an insurance salesman. When they learn that his parents (played by Jeff Daniels and Catherine O'Hara) are moving to Antwerp for two years just before Verona gives birth, the incensed pregnant couple decides should move. They embark on a road trip to visit friends and family to figure out where they should raise their kid.

They visit Phoenix, Tucson, Madison, WI, Montreal and Miami. The cast of characters they visit include wacky Lily (Allison Janney) and Lowell (Allison Janney)--about whom you wonder how they ended up together--and old college friends, Munch (Melanie Lynskey) and Tom (Chris Messina), nursing their own wounds. Verona and Burt share authentic chemistry of a couple who is close and still very much in love. The first third of the movie was brutally slow. I almost didn't continue (I'd gotten a bad review from someone already), but once LN (Maggie Gyllenhaal) enters, the movie livens up. The soft, yet raw sounds of Alexi Murdoch (in the Nick Drake vein) fuel the soundtrack, providing contemplative road trip music.

Mostly comedy with a few dramatic scenes, I enjoyed it. You get lovely panoramic shots. The camera filters mute the colors, creating a 1970s feel. Away We Go is sprinkled with odd, inappropriate and humorous details that culminate in a decent movie dealing with the fears that crop up for couples expecting their first child and how they refine who they will be as parents.

Director: Sam Mendes

Country: US

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 99 minutes

Scale: 3.75

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