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Away We Go or How Bitter Balcony found Out Women can't Fly After Six Months of Pregnancy without a Doctor's consent. Oh, yeah, We Also Reviewed it.


Away We Go

In the earnest comedy "Away We Go," Burt (John Krasinski from “The Office”) and Verona (“SNL's” Maya Rudolph), are an unwed couple in their early 30s about to enter parenthood. The couple squeaks by while living in a trailer and count on Burt's parents Gloria and Jerry (Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels) for financial and emotional support. Things take a turn for the worse when the elder couple decides to leave for Antwerp, Belgium. Stranded by Burt's folks, Verona convinces him to go on a trip that will take them closer to family and friends, and possibly, the home they covet.

Burt and Verona's cross-country travels lead them to a series of encounters with old acquaintances and long-distanced kin. There’s an awkward visit to Verona's former rowdy boss Lily (Allison Janey) and her whacked-out family. And in one of the funniest scenes ever to involve a stroller, a dinner date with Burt's uber-bohemian distant relative LN (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her doped out partner Roderick (Josh Hamilton).

As their cross-country journey ensues, Burt and Verona find solidarity in their relationship as they visit Verona's looking-for-Mister-Right sister Grace (Carmen Ejogo) and Burt's brother Courtney (Paul Schneider), whose wife has left him and his daughter. Additionally, the revelations during their stay in Montreal with old college friends Tom (Chris Messina) and \Munch (Melanie Lynskey) leaves the couple to coming to terms with maturity.

"Away We Go" is Sam Mendes' light and contemporary companion piece to his 2008 somber drama "Revolutionary Road.” In "Revolutionary Road" the discontent Wheelers, Frank and April (Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet) face the inner turmoil of married life in the 1950s. For the Wheelers, following a conservative society's expectations prevented them from reaching an understanding of what they needed and wanted from each other, not to mention their own aspirations. In contrast, for the unmarried Burt and Verona, their issues stem from not having conventional obligations and titles of adult life.

Bitter Balcony can't think of many filmmakers who explore the intricacies of American Life quite like Sam Mendes, and the "American Beauty" director craftfully studies the disappointments and dreams of American couples both in past and present.

The original screenplay, written by authors and real-life husband and wife Vendela Vida and Dave Eggers (who also co-wrote "Where The Wild Things Are" screenplay with Spike Jonze), is pretty good, a balanced story that knows its intelligence but is humble enough to pull back when needed (take notice Diablo Cody). The dialogue is funny, but not every sentence is a punch line. Instead, the comedy comes from the observations of human interaction. Tender and humorous, the screenplay should get some buzz come award time.

The veteran supporting cast has a good time with their idiosyncratic characters, especially Allison Janey's caricature performance as Lily and Maggie Gyllenhall as space cadet LN. As for the leads, John Kransinski turns on his Jim Halpert charm for Burt, blending good-natured deviance with serene confidence. Kransinski grows a Hemmingway-like beard, following "The Robin Williams Rules" for comedians taking up dramatic roles. Maya Rudolph, however, is the star of this film. Her Verona is everything a man can ask for from a woman: intelligent, supportive, loving, but stronger and more independent than Burt. Bitter Balcony hopes that Rudolph garners attention for Verona; it is one of the best performances of 2009.



Official website:

Away We Go


Directed by: Sam Mendes
Written by: Vendela Vida and Dave Eggers
Cast: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

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