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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Away We Go

Krasinski, Rudolph hit the road to find home

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Away We Go, a droll comedy-cum-drama by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty), perceptively explores the lives of more-or-less ordinary 30-somethings lost in a world without much meaning. Verona (Maya Rudolph) and Burt (John Krasinski) are about to become parents. After learning that Burt's self-centered, baby boomer parents are moving to Belgium to fulfill their own ambitions rather than accept the responsibility of grandparenthood, Burt and seriously pregnant Verona embark on a road trip to visit old friends and family and, hopefully, to find a home.

Alas, friends and family are little help in a scattered (and scatterbrained) society. Old ties don't bind and disconnection is the norm. Most of the people they encounter are pathetic, when they aren't tragic. Common values and references have gotten hard to find in an atomized society, and vague new-age nostrums can't fill the vacuum. No one knows what the rules and expectations are.

Verona expresses the couple's own anxieties early on: "Are we fuck-ups? We don't even have the basic stuff figured out." They are still living out their semi-Bohemian, alt-rock college life years after leaving school. Verona, an artist, ekes out an income by illustrating medical texts, and Burt, a quasi-intellectual drawing from reading rather than experience on even the most elemental points, seems ill-suited for the job in insurance futures he fitfully pursues. Away We Go finds a ray of hope in the thought that people of good intentions might somehow find their way
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