This really should be in a romantic comedy section, but I'll be fucking damned if I'll allow that as a category on Behind the Hype. Away We Go is a romantic comedy / drama / indie smorgasbord of confusion from director Sam Mendes. You might remember Mr. Mendes from his other films - Jarhead, American Beauty, or Revolutionary Road, and think that Away We Go will also be a winner. You'd be wrong. The film leads are television "stars" John Krasinski (The Office), and Maya Randolph (Saturday Night Live). Mendes also splashes in comedian Jim Gaffigan, and Jeff Daniels for about six seconds each. The quick and dirty of the film is that it is an awkward comedy, that falls on it's face when it's trying to be funny, yet succeeds at confusing the living shit out of you. Enjoy (suckers)!
Aside from the opening scene, prior to the title, you will perpetually be more and more disappointed and confused as you travel alongside Burt (Krasinski) and Verona (Randolph). After the couple finds out that Burt's parents are moving to Belgium (Burt's father played by Daniels), they decide they will travel the country (and Canada) to see where they will call "home" for their baby-in-waiting. As they travel from relatives to friends' houses, they learn what they love and hate about what married life would be like, and just about everyone they run into is a weird, hippie motherfucker. Really, everyone is a fucking whack job in this film, which leads to super awkward scenes with no cohesion. The only screen chemistry of the entire film was when the couple traveled to Montreal to meet up with their old college friends.
I hate that this is even called a comedy, since there were hardly any laughs. Realizing early that I wasn't going to laugh - I wrote down the only line that made me chuckle - which was when Verona's friend in Phoenix said this of her own daughter:
She's got that dyke look.
The film is slow-paced and uncomfortable - not American Beauty uncomfortable, mind you, more like the kind of discomfort you feel on a blind date where you know you'll never want to see the person again. Most of the failed jokes (and believe me, there was a lot of that) were just way too obvious for anyone with even half a brain. The main reason I feel the humor failed was that the film relied too heavily on the supporting characters for humor, which would only work if any character - aside from Burt & Verona - was on screen for more than 5 minutes.
Away We Go, if you still decide to see it, will come off as being too serious to be a romantic comedy / chick flick, and not serious enough to be a drama. This is one of the few rated R "comedies" I've seen in recent past that didn't even get one belly laugh out of me.
Simply put: the lack of chemistry between the characters, failed humor, and lack of direction is why you should avoid this film. Also, Maya Randolph sucks. Big time.