Away We Go

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:Sam Mendes
  • Cast:Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Alison Janney, John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph
  • Release Date:December 10, 2009
  • Distributor:Universal
  • Running time:88 minutes
  • Film Worth:$13.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

An unconvincing premise is turned into a must-see heartwarming romantic comedy.

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Sweet-natured and meandering, Sam Mendes' wonderfully breezy Away We Go is reminiscent of Sideways in its lambent touch and deceptive intelligence. It's also a candidate for romantic comedy of the year. Based on a script by wunderkind Dave Eggers and his real-life partner Vendela Vida, the plot of Away We Go is simplicity itself. Burt (John Krasinski of The Office fame) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) are long-distance freelance scribes living in rural Colorado who set out to find a new hometown. The decision is made for them when Burt's parents, Jerry (Jeff Daniels) and Gloria (Catherine O'Hara), announce that they are heading off to Belgium, hence the lovebirds - and imminent parents - realise that they are well and truly on their own.

The resulting journey from to Tucson to Montreal could and should go wrong in so many ways - it is a somewhat unconvincing premise for a film, and the comedy and characterisations are frequently played broad and flat. Maggie Gyllenhaal, for instance, creates a caricature of narcissistic young motherhood that could be accused of shallow viciousness if it weren't so recognisable and unbearably funny.

What always keeps Away We Go at the top of the shelf is a magical chemistry between the leads. Enough actors - from Zach Braff to John Cusack - have been called "the new Woody Allen", so let's retire the compliment; John Krasinski is his own man, and he's deftly funny. The biggest revelation though is Maya Rudolph, hitherto most famous for being Paul Thomas Anderson's squeeze and a sometime Saturday Night Live alumni. She is soulful, earthy and mesmerising in the simple cadences of her monologues.

Ultimately, this is a big-hearted comedy that noticeably expands the range of its star director, emerging as one of the summer's early must-see movies.

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