Sam Mendes made "American Beauty" and then
Perdition"...even with the slight stumble
"Jarhead", he came
back strong with the energetic
"Revolutionary Road" but this is the first time he's made a
comedy-drama. If "Away We Go" is any indication, Mendes can do
just about anything with a great script and strong acting, and he
gets that in spades with this new film.
"Away We Go" follows a couple named Bart
(John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) as they try to find a new
home where they can have their soon-to-be-born child and start a new
life together. Their travels take them from Denver to Arizona
to Montreal to Miami as they meet with family, friends and old
co-workers to determine where they want to move...all the while
learning more about themselves, their fears about becoming parents,
and figuring out what makes happy couples stay together.
Although you can't tell at times, the wild
and wacky people that Verona and Bart see along the way are strong
characters but it helps that the lead couple is also very, very
interesting. Sometimes, these types of movies turn into how
the lead couple has no personality but everyone else around them
does...and, at the end, the lead couple figures out who they REALLY
Christmases" has this problem). But, in "Away We Go",
there are many scenes where Bart and Verona ask a lot of good
questions about where their lives are going...sprinkled with strong
chemistry and some good laughs to keep the momentum going. AND
we get the aforementioned wacky characters, like Allison Janney as a
profane, dissatisfied former co-worker of Verona's, or Maggie
Gyllenhaal as a hippie-ish professor living in Madison.
But, what really made "Away We Go" great was
its script...by finding a way to show us a general stereotype of
each kind of family--the new-age thinking, the unhappy parents with
out-of-shape kids, the single parent, the adoptive parents who can't
conceive--we get a story that isn't preachy but does attempt to
educate us on thinking about each family type's perspective.
And, Rudolph and Krasinski are so good, and generally quite
genuine...I kept waiting for one of them to just, I don't know, be
something familiar, but then they weren't, and then someone drops an
f-bomb, I laughed and the story kept rolling along.
For the type of movie that it is, "Away We
Go" is nearly perfect. Anyone who tells me they didn't like
this movie will have to be shot.
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard