Away We Go (2009)
Like Where the Wild Things Are, this one was penned by author Dave Eggers (and wife Vendella Vida). If I did not know the director, I never would have pegged this as a Sam Mendes effort. The indie/quirky spirit of this movie is a far cry from the stylized American Beauty and Revolutionary Road.
The movie stars John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph as a young couple about to have a baby. When his parents tell them they are leaving for a few years in Europe, the couple decides to visit a few places in the country to see where they fit. The movie is an episodic account of their journeys and the several people they visit. Most of the visits unearth some sort of horror the couple wishes to avoid, such as suburban alcoholics who demean their kids, inflexible New Age hippies, or broken marriages.
John Krasinski is likable enough as Burt, but to me he was really just playing a hipster version of Jim from The Office. I found Maya Rudolph much more interesting as Verona. Throughout the movie, her character is the more guarded one, and Rudolph does a really nice job at suggesting the layers underneath.
There were a lot of fun moments in this film, but also parts that seemed a bit mashed together. Some episodes could be from a Christopher Guest movie (the sections with Allison Janney and Maggie Gyllenhaal), while others seemed to be going for a much more sincere vibe. I think I actually would have liked the movie a little more if it had been a flat-out comedy with a little sentiment and not quite so many soft indie songs on the soundtrack. As it stands, the movie is an entertaining road movie with many funny bits, a lot of good actors, and a little bit of a message (find your own path in your relationships).