Movies that feature known television series actors as the leads can be pretty risky. Just because we like seeing these folks on tv every week doesn't mean it will always translate into success for them on the big screen. But it does typically depend on who they are. More importantly, it depends on what type of material they are given. That's why I was a little skeptical about "Away We Go" and waited until its dvd release before I checked it out.
Vernoa De Tessant (Maya Rudolph) is six months pregnant, but her and boyfriend Burt Farlander (John Krasinski) aren't completely sold on the idea of raising a family in their present home of Colorado. A sense of adventure and the desire to find a place to call home propels the couple on a journey across North America. During their stays in Arizona, Wisconsin, Montreal and Miami they learn the do's and don'ts of parenting from a unique cast of friends and family.
I wasn't fully understanding how this couple had not only the means but also the time to take the trips they were doing. They couldn't even afford to fix a window in their house and barely had a drivable car yet they were able to fly to all these locales on a whim? Not to mention that these type of trips would have required some vacation time away from work which also didn't seem to be an issue for either one of them. Fortunately, the folks they encountered during the course of their odyssey made me overlook this bit of logic.
The first stop on their travels immediately get things off to a great start when they visit Burt's parents Gloria (Catherine O'Hara) and Jerry (Jeff Daniels). The two of them were absolutely hilarious. They could easily give the Focker parents a run for their money with their flighty behavior.
Then they visit Phoenix where they meet up with Vernoa's former ex-coworker Lily (Allison Janey). She's about as inappropriate as they come. She'll say and do just about anything in the presence of her kids only because she thinks they don't pay attention to her. She doesn't confine it to just her kids though. Vernoa and Burt quickly find that out and yet another visit brings more laughs.
What we quickly discover with the couple's next stop is "Away We Go" gets better and better with each trip they make. It ultimately comes down to the fact that each friend or family member has something about them that makes the couple uncomfortable. It's either obnoxious, inappropriate or just down right loony. The latter being the case when Maggie Gyllenhaal and Josh Hamilton show up as pretentious hippie parents. It is how Burt and Vernoa interact with all of these different situations that makes "Away We Go" such an amazing film.
This flick is more than just a comedy though. It's a great relationship piece as we ge to see Burt and Vernoa learn more about themselves during their trip. We can see their bond growing stronger with each new destination. It seems that there is always something that allows them to further conect with one another. Both Rudolph and Krasinski do a great job of making these characters seem genuine in their affection for one another.
I wouldn't have thought that Rudolph had a movie like this in her. I don't mention Krasinski in the same manner because Burt wasn't really that far off from the Jim character he plays on "The Office". Rudolph, on the other hand, came from "Saturday Night Live" where her performances could often be hit and miss. Although that also was due to the writing which wasn't her fault. The two of them together combined with excellent casting of their friends and family makes "Away We Go" one of the best flicks of the year.
My rating: A