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Warning you about crappy movies since 2008.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Away We Go

Away We Go is an example of what can happen to likable actors (adorable John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph in the lead roles) and an acclaimed director (Sam Mendes) when they meet up with a crappy script. The script in this case, co-written by hipster authors (and husband and wife) Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida tries way too hard to be quirky. Quirky it is, and I'm OK with that. It's just that this script strains to achieve what, say, Diablo Cody made look effortless in Juno.

Rudolph plays Verona, a crunchy woman who lives with -- but refuses to marry --Burt, her hirsute, clueless boyfriend, played by Krasinski. Verona, whose parents are both deceased, gets pregnant early in the film. Burt's folks, who live nearby, will be the baby's only grandparents. When that self-absorbed couple announces they'll soon be moving out of the country, right before the birth of their grandchild, Verona and Burt set about looking for a new city to call home so their baby girl will grow up near family.

They hop from city to city, crashing with crazy old colleagues, family members and college buddies, as they try to find a new home base. The script is so carelessly written that one family the clueless couple stays with -- college chums of the 33-year-old Verona -- has what seems to be four or five adopted children, some teenagers. The husband confides in Burt that the wife has just suffered her fifth miscarriage and, well, shame on them for waiting so late to try to have kids. Huh?! Sure looks like they started their family about 12 or 13 years ago. When they would've likely still been in college.

In another scene meant to be touching, Verona and her sister climb into a bathtub in a showroom and discuss their late parents. Verona weeps. For me, it was just contrived and cloying.

A supporting cast that includes the usually magnificent Allison Janney tries mightily for laughs that never come. Maggie Gyllenhaal as a hippie professor/earth mother is the lone entertaining character we meet on this road trip. She's far from likable, but she is memorable. Which is more than you can say for the rest of the movie.

Away We Go is little more than a series of vignettes with oddball and annoying -- you can't even call them characters -- caricatures. Skip it.

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