Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Away We Go
Something I like to do after watching a movie is read the NY Times review of it and compare it to what I thought of the film. In this case, the differences are vast, in that AO Scott basically shat on it, and I enjoyed it a lot and wished it would keep going.
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way immediately: the music is awful. Maybe I just think that because it reminded me of the music from Juno, which makes me remember how that movie tricked me into liking it until I put my brain back in my head and realized how offensive it was. Probably, though, I just don't like that music. You know, contemplative sensitive men with an acoustic guitar, strumming their way around love that walked away or whatever. Blah.
So that's the bad stuff. Now, the good stuff. John Krasinski has never been sexier. Dave Eggers, who wrote the screenplay, has never been less irritating. Allison Janney, well, she's Allison Janney, and she wins every time. And Maya Rudolph proves she is way more than just a funny girl from SNL.
The movie's premise is that Burt and Verona (Krasinski and Rudolph, oddly well-matched) are about to have a baby (the way in which they discover this is a bit awkward, but funny and romantic). In the 6th month of pregnancy, they realize they have nowhere to settle, so they have an adventure around the US and Canada, in which they bump into many kooky people and learn which surroundings fit them best and worst. AO Scott's review states that these characters, in not being crazed New-Agey super-PC "seahorse community"-envying, other people's baby-breast-feeders, or potty-mouthed parents waxing luridly about their childrens' fatness, are better than everyone else in the movie, and know it, and that is somehow a bad thing. It is not a bad thing. It is a true thing. His argument is much like the middle school (and onwards, really) argument that if the pretty girl knows she is pretty, she is also a bitch. A does not equal B, my dear.
The relationship between Burt and Verona is far beyond most movie romances, in that we see a friendship, not just a sexual relationship or co-dependence. They are a team. Chris Messina and Melanie Lynskey play Tom and Munch, college buddies of the soon-to-be-parents, and have a similar team-like dynamic. They also have children and a social life, which should comfort any naysayers who are certain that people cease to be people once they spawn.
This is not a blockbuster. There are no explosions or ultimate betrayals or blood and guts. This is a movie about potentially real people looking for their own happiness, together. If knowing what they want and not standing for other people's idiocy makes them smug and better than the rest, so be it.