'Away We Go': A Tour Among The Tiresome

John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph in 'Away We Go' i i

hide captionWhere Are We Going? After being abandoned by Burt's (John Krasinski) parents, Burt and Verona (Maya Rudolph) undertake a journey to find a new place to live.

Francois Duhamel/Focus Features
John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph in 'Away We Go'

Where Are We Going? After being abandoned by Burt's (John Krasinski) parents, Burt and Verona (Maya Rudolph) undertake a journey to find a new place to live.

Francois Duhamel/Focus Features

Away We Go

  • Director: Sam Mendes
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Rated R: Language and some sexual content.

With: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Allison Janney

Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels in 'Away We Go' i i

hide captionMeet The Parents: Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels star as self-involved soon-to-be grandparents set on moving to Antwerp shortly before the birth of their grandchild.

Francois Duhamel/Focus Features
Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels in 'Away We Go'

Meet The Parents: Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels star as self-involved soon-to-be grandparents set on moving to Antwerp shortly before the birth of their grandchild.

Francois Duhamel/Focus Features

A self-satisfied film about insecure people, Away We Go has mustered several genuine assets, but it squanders them all and ends up being not as special as it tries to be.

Directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes, it's a quirky, episodic film that details the adventures of an endearing young couple apprehensive about their impending parenthood. Sadly, most of the other people in the film make up for that anxiety by being smugly self-involved and a trial to endure.

That smugness very much extends to the young man's parents, played by Jeff Daniels and Catherine O'Hara. These feckless potential grandparents decide to leave the country just as their grandchild is about to be born.

The young couple in question are played by John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. They are so immediately appealing, so obviously right for each other, that the whole notion of their worrying about being bad parents comes off as the rank contrivance it very much is.

Still, worry they do, so the order of the day is a rambling trip across the country to visit old friends and family. It's not just about deciding where to live, of course. It's also about helping them figure out how to live.

There's nothing wrong with this as a concept. In practice, however, the trip builds the young people's confidence by exposing them to couples who are such dismaying grotesques that our heroes just seem sane and responsible by comparison. These portraits are more contemptuous than comic, filled with enough meanness and mockery to make laughter the furthest thing from your mind.

The warmth and goodwill the film's protagonists generate on their own is never matched by anything else put on screen — and that does feel like a shame.

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