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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Away We Go (2009)

An unmarried but committed thirty something couple (John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph) are struggling to make ends meet. When she becomes pregnant, they discover his self centered parents (Jeff Daniels, Catherine O'Hara) are moving to Belgium and won't be around for the baby so they decide to go on a road trip (Arizona, Wisconsin, Montreal, Florida) to find the right place to raise their daughter. This gentle "road" movie is filled with detailed characterizations by a superb cast. Director Sam Mendes (AMERICAN BEAUTY) displays a deft touch in handling the shifting emotional landscape while balancing the stronger comedic elements without eclipsing the more subtle dramatic ones. Each place they visit finds a mini story all its own. Arizona: the mentally unbalanced Allison Janney married to the paranoid Jim Gaffigan (their atrocious parenting skills are both funny and frightening) and Rudolph's sister, Carmen Ejogo. Wisconsin: the pretentious whack job (a terrific Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her husband (Josh Hamilton) with questionable, unconventional ideas on parenting. Montreal: the seemingly happy couple (Chris Messina, Melanie Lynskey) with a houseful of adopted children. Florida: Krasinski's confused, hapless brother (Paul Schneider) trying to cope with life as a single father. A lovely film.

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