Thursday, April 1, 2010

“Away We Go” – Which one are you?

My wife and I are not parents. We are probably future parents, but right now we are the people who glare at you as you walk onto an airplane carrying an infant. We are the people hoping your kids puke on you in the restaurant that you insisted bringing them to because “you just had to get out.” We are the people who hope you choke on your popcorn because you brought a baby to the theater who is more annoying than 10,000 cell phones ringing with the chorus of “Barbie Girl.” We are the people who don’t hate kids, in fact we love them, but we hate you for bringing them with you. Finally, we are the people who will probably do these same stupid, selfish things because having kids makes people insane. This is more or less the theme of “Away we go.”

John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph play Burt and Verona, a young couple who are a couple of months from having a baby. They live near Burt’s parents because they want to live near family or friends and are hoping for help with the baby as they try to build successful lives. When Burt’s parents surprise them with news that they are moving to Belgium, Burt and Verona decide to travel to a bunch of places, visiting family and friends, picking which place to move to. While this is the plot of the movie, it’s not really the point of the film. The point is to illustrate different parenting styles so that you can feel better about yourself and your own parenting skills.

Or not – I’m not really sure. The film is billed as a comedy/drama, but it’s not really either of those. It’s more like a documentary that has a tiny bit of humor and no drama at all. During their trip, Burt and Verona visit four couples who have some sort of link to them. The first is Verona’s old boss, Lily, and her family in Tucson. Lily is insane and interacts with her family in way that makes you wonder if she is related to George Carlin. She appears to openly hate her family, and expresses it in sarcasm and insults. Burt and Verona quickly move on, which they should have done as soon as they realized they were in Tucson.

Their next stop is in Madison, to visit an old childhood friend of Burt’s. LN (pronounced like Ellen) is a hippie college professor who hates strollers, breast-feeds her ten year old son, and has sex with her husband while her kids are in bed with them. This scene is the only part of the movie that is funny, not because of her, but because Burt snaps and goes a little crazy on her for a minute. After they leave LN’s house, they move on to their next destination and away from comedy for the remainder of the film.

Their next destination is Montreal, or more specifically, depression. A couple of old college friends, Tom and Munch (the wife is named Munch?!), live there with their adopted children. At first, they seem to be perfect, but when they go out drinking together they learn that Munch has had five miscarriages. As you can imagine, she’s not taking it very well, releasing her emotions in awkward, drunken bar dancing. Tom is handling it a little worse, all but telling Verona she sucks just because she is pregnant. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be the dramatic part of the film, but I was a little disappointed that Verona didn’t cold cock him. So much for Montreal.

Their final stop is in Miami, where the depressing fun continues in the form of Burt’s brother telling him he’s split up with his wife and is worried about how his daughter is going to take it. Burt and Verona console him by sleeping on the trampoline and reaffirming their love for each other. Too bad they didn’t have any left for the brother, but at least they had the decency to leave in the morning.

Though I’ve spoiled most of the movie, I won’t tell you what they decide at the end. However, I will tell you that you don’t have to endure a birthing scene (which ruined “Knocked Up”), and thankfully, Burt and Verona never have conflict with each other. It’s a nice change to the typical formula followed by these movies. You simply follow along on their adventure experiencing different family dynamics with them. Unfortunately, their adventure bored me so much I found myself checking the timer on the DVD player more often as the film dragged on. On the other hand, my wife found deeper meaning and she’s a lot smarter than me.

So which one are you? Are you the angry parent who hates their kids because you blame them for stealing your youth? Are you the hippie douche bag who forces their kids to be vegan because milk has feelings too? Are you the depressed couple who can’t be around pregnant people because you can’t believe how unfair God is? Are you what is now the majority of parents – single? Whichever one you are, don’t even think about bringing your kid in here. I promise I won’t do it to you.

Rating: Worth about three dollars at the theater. It’s a slow movie, but the stroller scene is entertaining.

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