Away We Go ***
I had been contemplating sharing my thoughts on this small and somewhat forgotten film, starring Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) and John Krasinski (The Office) but hadn’t gotten around to it. My thoughts were that I liked it, and I was surprised to like it as much as I did. It’s hard, at least for me, to not like Maya Rudolph. She’s a very talented comedian, and was very good in this film which showed off a more dramatic side. I liked her, but I also liked the story, in which the characters set out on a cross country trip to find the best place to raise their unborn child. This was a movie that I watched because I thought I might like it, even though it wasn’t particularly well received by critics (66% on Rotten Tomatoes). The script was written by Dave Eggers, author of the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which I also enjoyed, again, somewhat in spite of myself. There’s something very human about Eggers that I relate to, without relating in any way to the situations he writes about.
So why share my thoughts now? It’s because this film turned up last night on At the Movies in the Worst Films of the Year show. At the very least, it was chosen by New York Times critic A.O. Scott, and not my critic, Michael Phillips, who defended Rudolph’s performance (read his full review here). If it had been Phillips’ pick, well I might have had to find a new favorite critic. Still, I was taken aback. Even offended a little. You know what, not even a little. A lot. The rest of the films on the list were deserving of worst films. Films like The Ugly Truth, All About Steve, Old Dogs, and The Watchmen. Films that I never saw because even the trailers were painful to watch. How could this little charmer be expected to keep up (or down) with the rest of those stinkers?
I’ll admit that some of the people the main characters visit as part of the plot are caricatures. They’re not entirely realistic, but I thought the situations they found themselves in not that far removed from reality. Haven’t you ever visited a seldom-seen relative or long lost friend only to find out they weren’t who you thought, and then had to struggle through strained and uncomfortable dinner conversation?
I know, I know, it’s all a matter of personal taste. I personally hated last year’s Happy-Go-Lucky, couldn’t even sit through it, even though it was highly regarded by almost all critics. I was just surpirsed to see a film I liked make an appearance as a worst film. It’s usually the films Shaun likes that are on these shows. I would say if you’re a Maya Rudolph fan, you should definitely seek out this movie. I bet you’ll like it. Drop me a note, let me know.