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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

AWAY WE GO

By D.E.Levine

Director: Sam Mendes
Producers: Edward Saxon, Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf
Executive Producers: Mari Jo Winkler-Ioffreda and Pippa Harris
Screenplay: Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida
Cast: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Catherine O'Hara, Jeff Daniels, Carmen Ejogo, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Josh Hamilton, Chris Messina, Melanie Lynskey and Paul Schneider
Music: Alexi Murdoch
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Running Time: 100 Minutes

It's hard to follow a big hit with another right off the bat, and although Director Sam Mendes says he took breaks from editing Revolutionary Road to work on Away We Go, the film doesn't come anywhere near Revolutionary Road.

Billed as the first studio production adopting green film making initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions, Away We Go is billed as an independent production but reeks of big production company money.

True, the cast turns in terrific performances as this film, probing the anatomy of a relationship between a young interracial couple, Verona (Maya Rudolph of"Saturday Night Live") and goofy Burt ( John Krasinski of "The Office").

Committed to a relationship that doesn't include traditional marriage, the young couple find themselves living near his parents in Colorado and expecting their first child. When his parents decide to move to Belgium and forgo the birth of their first grandchild, the couple is suddenly free to do what they want.

The question is, what do they want? They don't really know so they decide to find out. Freed from the obligation to stay near his parents, the film follows the couple around the United States and parts of Canada as they try to decide where to settle.

Stopping in Phoenix, Arizona to visit Verona's former business colleague, they move on to Tuscon to visit Verona's sister Grace. Moving on to Madison, Wisconsin to visit Burt's close family friend "LN" and Roderick, they travel on to Montreal where Verona's former classmates Tom and Munch have a family of adopted multiracial children, and then detour to Miami to visit Burt's suddenly single brother.

In each instance we see that this young couple, without friends and no job obligations (they're freelancers) as the normal couple while each of the couples they visit are "messed up" in a different way, although Verona's sister seems fairly well balanced (but she's single and longs to meet someone "special").

We also see the challenge that each new environment would present if the couple were to settle there.

It's a lovely tender film with a nice grassroots texture, enhanced by the music of Scottish composer Alexi Murdoch.

However, it's doubtful that this film will have the appeal or make the kind of money of it's predecessor Revolutionary Road.