“AWAY WE GO” (John Krasinski & Maya Rudolph)
First off, someone needs to explain to me why Maya Rudolph was given the lead female role in this film & Maggie Gyllenhaal, a minor supporting one – If they had switched parts this would have been a much better film.
As it is, it’s simply a boring little movie that meanders without much purpose. Burt (John Krasinski) & Verona (Rudolph) are a happily unmarried couple that find their selfish lives altered when ‘Rona’ becomes pregnant. These people are in their thirties; they should have been prepared for this event – Instead, they are devastated when Burt’s parents announce they are moving to Belgium for two years because now they would have no one to watch over the baby while they carried on with their selfish, drab lives.
As the parents, Catherine O’Hara & Jeff Daniels bring a spark to the script, but all too quickly they are gone & we’re left with a now semi-happily unmarried couple.
Burt & Verona make a plan to visit every city in which they might like to raise their child, with the provision, of course, that they already know someone there who could help them raise the little bastard and ‘Away They Go’ . . .
Allison Janney is the brightest spark as Rona’s friend Lily, & comedian Jim Gaffigan is the perfect sarcastic compliment as Janney’s alcohol loving spouse, Lowell.
They are rejected because of their lack of parenting skills.
The Maggie Gyllenhaal segment is just plain ‘creepy’, as she and her mate have extremely radical views on parenting. Gyllenhaal plays L-N (pretentious for Ellen) & in her opening scene she is ‘breasts’ feeding her children. This, combined with the story she tells about another breast feeding incident are... ‘creepy’. The segment does end with a rare chuckling moment as Burt takes L-N’s older child for a stroller ride that makes his parents freak out. Then I wondered why Burt & Rona didn’t keep the stroller for their own child instead of leaving it with L-N, who obviously wouldn’t use it. Oh, yes, I forgot – this couple is just the opposite of the creepy couple – they don’t care ENOUGH about their forthcoming child, they are on a quest to find someone suitable to raise it for them.
Finally, they try Montreal & meet a seemingly stable young couple (Melanie Lynskey & Chris Messina as Munch & Tom) They appear to be the perfect pair. It is the most significant segment of the film, but it ends sadly & abruptly with no resolution & includes a very unsatisfying stripper’s pole scene in which no clothing is removed.
Acting-wise, Krasinski is very good – shows a lot of promise; he, Janney & Gaffigan provide the few comedic moments. I don’t see much a future in motion pictures for Rudolph – perhaps a series on the Lifetime channel should be her next career move. Not only is she one of those actresses that appears to be thinking about her lines as she ‘reads’ them in her mind, but she has no personality at all. A supposedly poignant moment when Rona & Burt recite their own personable ‘I Do’s’ falls flat because I didn’t feel Rudolph was a real person – I was always aware that she was just ‘acting’. Plus, Verona’s lack of commitment to Burt detracts from this ‘journey’ of a not-all-that happily unmarried couple. Also, close-up’s are not in Rudolph’s best interest either; Krasinski was much too good looking a guy to be with a rather plain woman whose face was spackled with green freckles to further enhance her lack of beauty.
I saved my biggest complaint & compliment for last – each involving the soundtrack. I think the last time I was this annoyed by the song (& artist) selections in a film was ‘Juno’ – Except here, the songs didn’t grate on my nerves (Like in ‘Juno’) they actually just added to the boredom which surrounded this mundane couple. EXCEPT, out of nowhere on comes George Harrison’s fantastic “What Is Life?” from his debut solo album “All Things Must Pass” – that excellent opening guitar riff & toe-tapping melody was clearly the highlight of the movie – when it faded out, I can’t begin to describe how disheartened I was. In the end I found it odd that they didn’t chose a more apropos song from that album – “Isn’t It A Pity?”