Before Tuesday, the last time I was in a theater was to see Step Brothers. Like all Will Ferrell movies since Anchorman, it was disappointing. I just don't see movies much outside the house.
But Away We Go held special allure. The screenplay was penned by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida. It stars John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph (who I've had a crush on for running on 8 years) as protagonists Burt and Verona, but it also features Jim Gaffigan, Jeff Daniels, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. And in a lovely bit of casting, the Jim Halpert copycat from Parks and Recreation actually plays Krasinski's brother. Basically, it's oozing aging hipster cred.
It's also about a couple who's 6 months pregnant, and my wife is 5 1/2 months pregnant, so it seemed appropriate to brave the Ed Hardy draped toddlers of Scottsdale's Fashion Park area, hit the only "artsy" theater in town, and soak it in.
Away We Go is a nice movie. It's paced slowly, like a novel, which I generally don't appreciate when I'm watching a movie. It's got some lovely scenes (a throwaway shot of a plane taking off in the reflections of a multi-paned window was particularly pretty). It's got some great jokes (while Krasinski plays the couple's staged fights a little weak, they're still effective). Mindy found a compatriot in Rudolph's constant explanations that Yes, I'm only six months along.
It's not quite there, though. The most accurate review I've found of the film may be its harshest. I didn't agree with much of Anne Hornaday's scorching write-up in The Washington Post (the supposed contempt the filmmakers had for their minor characters wasn't quite so widespread as many critics claimed), but I did agree the film does not end well.
In the film's last two cities, the couple comes face to face with two beautiful examples of community. They can live near their college friends, who are adopting and facing the sadness of five miscarriages, in Montreal. Or they can live near Burt's brother in Miami, who's wife has just left them and the couple's young daughter for good.
Instead, the couple ends up alone, at Verona's childhood home in an unknown location, a huge old home near the water.
It's there where the film misses the point, where it's apparent Burt and Verona may be just as selfish as Burt's parents when they move to Antwerp. Others need them, and whether they know it or not, they need others.