I would never have pictured John Krasinski (The Office) and Maya Rudolph (SNL) as a romantic couple but I am glad director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) had the insight to do so. The chemistry they generate in Away We Go is magical and winds up being the key to the film’s success. Their genuine affection for one another helps us overlook some of the movie’s faults.
Finding themselves expecting a baby and a bit displaced, Burt and Verona (Krasinski and Rudolph) decide to set out to find a place that they can call home. They decide to visit various married couples they know in order to see if they might live in a compatible community. Traveling from Arizona to Montreal, their journey is not at all what they expect, as the domestic bliss they seek proves as elusive as reliable daycare. From parents (Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan) who are openly critical of their kids, to a New Age couple (Maggie Gyllenhaal and Josh Hamilton) who take the touchy-feely approach to extremes, Burt and Verona witness nothing but dysfunction. Throw their own doubts into the equation and you have a couple that finds themselves completely unprepared for parenthood.
This is a contrived premise to be sure, but there’s enough charm in the screenplay and enthusiasm from the cast that I found myself not dwelling so much on the story’s inconsistencies as I was swept away by its heartfelt tone. It would be easy to compare Burt and Verona’s journey to that of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz and I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t the inspiration for this film, in light of Away’s conclusion. It’s as heartfelt as that classic and will continue to speak to all expectant parents for some time to come.
Contact Chuck Koplinski at email@example.com.