Away We Go

"OK"

Away We Go Review


The fifth film by British theater director Sam Mendes, Away We Go, is the most unkempt movie the director has made so far in his career. It was made while he was still in post-production for last year's excellent adaptation of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road, a film that was dependent on its form and staginess, and there's a sense that Away was made as a sort of counterpoint not only to the familial dread of Road but also to its style.

It is also the screenwriting debut of the wildly post-modern novelist Dave Eggers and his wife Vendela Vida, novelist and co-founder of literary zine The Believer. Being the recent parents of two children, there's certainly a self-reflexive quality to their script, which tells of the travels of a pair of expecting parents attempting to find a proper home for their awaited progeny.

In the beginning, they already have a home. Burt Farlander (John Krasinski of The Office) and his longtime girlfriend Verona (Maya Rudolph) are rooted to their home in Colorado, expecting his parents (Jeff Daniels and Catherine O'Hara) to help out a bit. The elder Farlanders unexpected plan to move to Belgium, however, sends the couple on the road to find a new home. Punctuated by black title-boards that announce each location, they begin in Phoenix where they visit both an old boss and her husband (the wonderful Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan) and Verona's sister Grace (Carmen Ejogo) and end with Burt's recently-separated brother Courtney (Paul Schneider) in Miami.

In form, the film is a complete mess but it's an engaging and, often, very funny mess. The couple bop around from Janney's madly neglectful mother-of-two to a pair of hilarious and horrifying new-agers (Maggie Gyllenhaal and Josh Hamilton) and finally to their married best friends from college, Tom and Munch (nicely played by Chris Messina and Melanie Lynskey). Less than real characters, each pair is an example of what could go wrong as parents and B and V eventually come to their own conclusions about how to raise their child, including Verona's decision to never marry Burt.

With its goofy and lovable leads and playful rhythm, Away ends up being far more plainspoken than one would think about the helplessness of parenthood. That isn't to say that it isn't hopeful. Verona says at one point " All we can do is be good for this one baby... we don't have control over much else" and that mood is conveyed thoroughly. Yet, despite its abundance of humor and style, Mendes' film feels impersonal and lacks the intimacy the director usually specializes in.

At times, Away We Go feels like an attempt to make a commercialized version of films like those of Andrew Bujalski or the Duplass brothers. There are moments of honesty and deep affection throughout the film but they are often muzzled by the intrusive and distracting score by pseudo-Drake folkster Alexi Murdoch. Krasinski and Rudolph embody the modern post-collegiate expecting parents well enough, but neither Mendes nor Eggers and Vida have anything very current to say about being parents. Like the film they appear in, I ultimately want to care about Burt and Verona much more than I actually do.

Let's live here.



Away We Go

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th June 2009

Box Office USA: $9.4M

Budget: $25M

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: Big Beach Productions, Neal Street Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 116 Rotten: 57

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Sem Mendes

Starring: as Burt Farlander, as Verona De Tessant, as Grace De Tessant, as Gloria Farlander, as Jerry Farlander, as Lily, as Lowell, Samantha Pryor as Ashley, Conor Carroll as Taylor, as LN, as Roderick, Bailey Harkins as Wolfie, Brendan Spitz as Baby Neptune, Jaden Spitz as Baby Neptune, as Tom Garnett

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.