How does a romantic comedy begin? The soothing sounds of Louis Armstrong or John Mayer will be blasting as the camera moves through the streets of New York City until we meet one of our leads who, in spite of their good looks, high paying job, and 3,000 square foot apartment, just can’t seem to find someone to date. You know how these movies don’t start? With John Krasinski performing oral sex on Maya Rudolph while talking about “vaginal flavors” to deduce that she might be pregnant. These are the first frames of Away We Go.
When this film was released in theaters, I remember several critics disliking the film because of the lack of conflict between our two leads. This is almost entirely true. Burt (Krasinski) and Verona (Rudolph) are completely in love with each other, and not the kind of gooey Valentine’s Day commercial kind of love, but a very honest, vulnerable, and strangely funny kind of love. It is refreshing to be able to observe the relationship for what it is, and not have to constantly be waiting for some contrived reason to put a strain on their love that you know will almost instantly be resolved.
Rather, the conflict in Away We Go comes from other couples the Burt and Verona visit as they are trying to figure out where they should live when their baby arrives. Each couple seems to represent different archetypes of what can happen in a marriage. The couple who has become cynical to the idea of marriage and families. The couple who doesn’t believe in strollers, but does believe in breast-feeding until the child is 5, and practices the “family bed” method of sleeping. The couple who seem to have the perfect family of adopted children, but are hiding their despair over five miscarriages. To the man whose wife has just left him, leaving him to raise a beautiful little girl all on his own. Oh there is plenty of conflict in this movie, but we are always anchored to Burt and Verona, to be reminded of what love can be.
I will warn you, Away We Go is rated “R”. While this film is immensely sweet, it also quite sad, and our characters react to the situations much like you and I would, thus there is a fair amount of foul language. I just don’t want you to be surprised when dialogue doesn’t feel anything like Sleepless in Seattle. In spite of the language and harsher elements used in the film, there is still enough childlike naivety in Burt and Verona to make the movie very enjoyable to watch. By the end you are reminded that many of our own journeys lead us home.
Written By Drew Martin