Monday, October 26, 2009

"Law Abiding Citizen"

Law Abiding Citizen - Directed by F. Gary Gray, starring Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, and Bruce McGill - Rated R

Kind of ridiculous and implausible, but hey, so is the Evil Kurgan, and he's pretty entertaining.

Law Abiding Citizen is a fun movie. Is it stupid? You bet. Is it completely implausible? Oh yeah. Does Gerard Butler lapse back to his Scottish accent at times? Yup. But is it also awesome? It certainly is. This movie has enough great moments to make me forget that most of it makes no sense.

The story is straightforward enough, it just gets more and more ridiculous as time goes on. It all starts when Clyde Shelton (Butler) answers the door at home one night. Two robbers burst in and eventually kill his wife and daughter. Enter Nick Rice (Foxx), an up and coming prosecutor. He decides to give one of the robbers a plea bargain while the other one gets the death penalty. This doesn't sit well with Clyde, so he bides his time (he waits ten years to be exact) and unleashes the most intricate and implausible revenge plot in recent memory.

Clyde starts off simply by going after the two murderers. In a Saw type scene he explains what he is going to do to one murderer in gleeful detail. This is what Gerard Butler is meant to do. Enough with the romantic comedies; he needs to explain how he's going to deal out death with a smile on his face in every single movie he is in. That's why I can excuse his occasional accent lapse. He honestly seems to enjoy himself in films like this and 300.

After the two murderers are dealt with, Clyde allows himself to be taken's Nick's turn. But with Nick the lesson is going to be lengthy. Clyde looks at Nick and sees everything wrong with the justice system. So he can't simply kill everyone all at once. He needs to prove that this deal making system is broken. Clyde proves this by setting up some unlikely scenarios (how could he plan things out to exact times and how did he know what prison he would go...stuff like that) and demanding strange things. But it works and it's funny. I couldn't help but laugh a bit when he described the mattress he wanted in his cell in exchange for a confession. Or the steak dinner and iPod request in exchange for the location of a kidnapped lawyer. (More on that steak dinner later.)

Once Clyde is locked up, the story gets farther and farther out there. Apparently Clyde is capable of turning anything into a weapon and he's had ten years to perfect his art. Some of his inventions are quite ridiculous, but they're also kind of cool. I'll just leave it at that because a few of them lead to a shock or two and I don't want to deprive anyone of that.

That's enough for the story. I haven't really mentioned any other performance in the film other than Butler's but no one else really stands out. Foxx is okay, I just don't care for him as an actor. Though I will say that Foxx and Butler work well together; their interrogation scenes were entertaining. The supporting cast is strong, but no one has a character to work with.

What makes this movie stand out and what makes it enjoyable (or at least makes it a guilty pleasure) is its statement regarding the American court system. Clyde believes in a black and white/right and wrong world. There should be no bail hearings for suspicious people. There should be no plea deals. There should only be strict and swift punishment for your crimes. As faulty as this logic may sound, it always appeals to me on the screen. I know that our justice system is what it is and while it might be unfair at times, it certainly isn't broken. But when I read the arrest section and I see different bail amounts for the same crime or I hear about a murderer pleading down to a lesser charge I always get a little angry. Clyde, however, gets really angry. But the audience is with him; his wife and daughter were killed right in front of him. Is he justified? Maybe, maybe not. I was on his side, though, even though the film tries to sympathize with Jamie Foxx more than Butler. If someone is going to try and take down the justice system in real life, I wouldn't support it, but if they're trying to bring it down, literally, in a movie, then why not? If you're going to rope people in with such a premise, then you might as well go all the way with it. I though Law Abiding Citizen stopped a bit too short. It was still a hell of a ride, though.

*I haven't done this for awhile, but I have to talk about a few SPOILERS for this one.

I mentioned Gerard Butler requesting a steak dinner with an iPod accompaniment in prison. That might sound like an amusing little scene but it's actually one of the most hardcore scenes I've seen recently and it also plays on an action movie cliché in a very clever way. Let me describe the scene in detail: Butler gets his steak dinner and commences to eating it in front of an angry cellmate. He lets the cellmate join him and it seems like he's trying to make a friend out of the guy. They finish off the meal and Butler grabs the bone from the finished steak and clinches it on the sly. He moves behind the cellmate and gets him to try and find a song on the iPod via the remote. Just as the cellmate changes the song to a heavy metal track, Butler stabs him in the throat multiple times. "Stab" is too light of a word, though. It's more of a crazy punch-stab...with a steak bone. And the camera doesn't cut away. It's a shockingly brutal scene. Is there a reason why the violence was so amped up for that scene and not for the others? Maybe. The violence works. At a time when the movie was becoming borderline comedic I was jolted back into a serious movie. Even if there was no point to it, it certainly stuck with me. Years from now, I might forget the plot of Law Abiding Citizen, but something tells me I'll be able to describe the steak bone stab scene (that's what I've started calling it) for many years to come.

The action movie cliché I mentioned comes into play with the use of the heavy metal track on the iPod. Usually, in a film like this, a rock song kicks in (a Deftones song called "Engine No. 9") just as the violence amps up. But when that music kicks in its from the soundtrack. The filmmakers here found a way to make the music diegetic. I found this to be a stroke of genius (a small stroke, but a stroke nonetheless). I've always enjoyed interesting uses of music in film and that moment stood out for me. What can I say, I'm easily impressed when it comes to movie music.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Where the Wild Things Are" / "Paranormal Activity"

Where the Wild Things Are - Directed by Spike Jonze, starring Max Records, Catherine Keener, and James Gandolfini - Rated PG

A great film about childhood.

Where the Wild Things Are, based on the children’s book by Maurice Sendak, is a strange film. The director, Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) has stated that the film is more of a movie about childhood than it is a children’s movie. I completely agree with that statement, though that doesn’t mean children won’t like it. The story of an unruly, “wild” if you will, child, Max, who visits a fantasy world filled with strange, talking beasts after a fight with his mother is something that can appeal to both children and adults.

What makes this more about childhood than for children are the deeper ideas behind it. Sure, watching the wild things get into a dirt war or jump into a huge pile might be fun, but when you think about what they represent you get into levels that most children watching wouldn’t pick up on. The most prominent wild thing, Carol (voiced perfectly by James Gandolfini), truly acts like an angry child, who throws violent tantrums when he finds out that everything isn’t going to be perfect.

The fact that Carol’s actions mirror Max’s to a certain degree leads to the possibility that each wild thing represents a part of Max or at least someone in his family. I don’t want to get into that, but since it’s even possible to make connections like that it shows that this film is not just for kids. But it does deal with the emotions of a child.

The film really delves into the loneliness a child can feel at times. It seems that Max is not understood by his single mother or older sister. He feels the need to run away to a new world of his own creation; a world where everyone will be happy. But things don’t work out perfectly even in a fantasy land and Max is forced to deal with his loneliness and fear even in his imagination.

Does this sound a bit more complicated than the book? It certainly is, but I think this movie is more than just an adaptation. It’s a statement about childhood memories. If you go back and read the Sendak book you’ll find a fairly simple story about an imaginative and rambunctious boy. Much like how you might respond to a picture of yourself as a child. You’ll see yourself with a smile and remember how simple childhood was and how you wish things could be more like that in the grown up world. But things weren’t really as simple as that picture. Childhood was not a constant happy state for anyone, though some people tend to remember it that way. Where the Wild Things Are takes those memories and shows you the darker times. It might make you remember that there were times when you wanted to run with the wild things when you were younger. It might remind you that being a child means being lonely sometimes.

So this film is a bit more depressing than one might imagine, but there is still fun to be had. For one thing, the wild things look amazing. Jonze went with a mix of practical and CG effects and they meld together to make some very realistic creatures. The visuals of this film alone make it entertaining at times and you can’t help but feel a little attached to the beasts by the end of the film.

I found the wild things to be more amusing than touching, though. If you don’t feel anything at all towards the creatures then this movie probably won’t work for you. If you buy into the world that Max creates, you’re most likely going to come away from the film with something, be it a deeper meaning, a choked up feeling, or just a smile. But the movie might not pull you in like that. It pulled me in and I had a fun time with it. I’m not going to lie; at times, it made me feel like a kid again.

Paranormal Activity - Written and directed by Oren Peli, starring Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat - Rated R

This movie's creepier than Chigurh.

Paranormal Activity is the low budget horror sensation about a young couple, Micah and Katie, who decide to film themselves to get evidence of their haunting. Micah seems to find the whole situation funny while Katie takes it quite seriously. Of course, things start to get creepy. While this might sound like the set up to a ghost hunter TV show, it’s actually a great set up for a truly freaky movie.

The big question with Paranormal Activity seems to be, “Is it worthy of all the hype?” It’s certainly an understandable question. The film has been creating an internet buzz for quite some time. In fact, the film gained its wide release through an internet campaign in which one million people requested it to play in their hometown. Then there are the previews (which you hopefully ignored, since the ending is arguably ruined in the TV spots) which showcase audience reactions.

My answer to that question is definitely “yes.” This movie is scary: cheap scary (its budget was only $11,000). So that means no excessive gore, no computer animated monsters, no shrill violin infused score, and no big name actors. Is that a problem? Not for me.

Cheap scary means real scary. I’ve seen countless slasher movies in which the terror is supposed to be derived from a madman with a blunt object chasing teens and while I enjoy some of those movies, I haven’t been scared by them since elementary school. I can never really imagine myself in those situations. Can I imagine being in a Paranormal Activity situation where I hear a knock, or a door creak in the middle of the night? Put myself in those positions? I’ve been in those situations. Those times alone at night where you scare yourself for no reason at all. That is what this film thrives on.

Much like The Blair Witch Project, this film preys on pre-existing fears. Honestly, if those fears don’t exist for you, then you’ll probably find this movie boring. But there might be something in the film even for the detractors. For instance, the movie is actually funny early on. Micah is the skeptic and his reaction to the haunting and Katie’s fear is hilarious at times.

The film is a slow burn, though, and the laughs stop eventually and the film becomes completely terrifying. There’s nothing wrong with that, though. It’s just surprising that the film contained so many laughs. Micah and Katie interact perfectly as a couple and their banter lightens the mood immensely. It works so well when you think about human nature. What’s the first thing people do after they’ve been scared but they realize everything is okay? They laugh. An audience at a screening of Paranormal Activity could be used as a social experiment on the human reaction to fear.

Speaking of the audience, the crowd at the theater is vital for this film. It also adds to the comedy. My theater got quite a kick out of a group that left near the end of the film because they were so scared. The audience also accentuates each fear when there’s an entire group of people hiding their eyes or screaming. I didn’t happen to hide my eyes or scream, but when that’s going on around you, you tend to tense up.

Tension is the real scare element in this film. Since the movie uses the mockumentary (á la Blair Witch Project) style, the audience is subjected to multiple scenes of the couple sleeping. It’s tense because you know something is going to happen, it’s just a matter of where. Your eyes dart around the screen, trying to catch the moment. It places you in the movie and amps up the fear. Let me put it this way: every time a night scene ended I was relieved. Not because I was bored or anything, but because it was tense to the point of being stressful.

Some of this might make it seem like Paranormal Activity isn’t an enjoyable experience. At times, a scary movie shouldn’t be enjoyable; it should make you tense and nervous. That’s what Paranormal Activity does. Does it live up to the hype? Yes. Do I ever want to put myself through the experience of it again? No way. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Anvil! The Story of Anvil" / "The Girlfriend Experience" / "Wages of Fear" / "Wait Until Dark" / "A Boy and His Dog"

*I didn't think there was anything worth watching in the theaters this past weekend, so I'm just going to write a few short reviews of some DVDs I watched recently. I'll definitely have a review for Where the Wild Things Are next week and I might check out Paranormal Activity as well.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil - Directed by Sacha Gervasi - Not Rated

Anvil is the Kurgan's kind of music.

Anvil was a heavy metal band from the early '80s that debuted with the likes of Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeth, but never reached the aforementioned bands' level of fame. This documentary asks why. If you're into '80s metal music and you've heard Anvil, you'd wonder why as well. The thing is that even though Anvil never hit it big, the two founding members, lead guitarist/singer Lips and drummer Robb Reiner, are still at it, trying to keep the dream alive.

That's really the theme behind this documentary: keeping the dream alive. Lips and Robb may fight and quit here and there, but they are in it for the long run. Even though they sometimes play shows with less than a dozen people at them, or they can't get proper transportation for their tour, they still keep at it and tend to stay upbeat as well. You can't help but like Lips and Robb and while it can be easy to laugh at them at times, you still feel sympathy for these guys. I, myself, ended up rooting for them and hoping for the best.

I mentioned that you could easily laugh at Anvil and that brings up the comparison of Anvil to Spinal Tap. Most people have been referring to Anvil as the real life Spinal Tap. I can certainly see the connection, but the most interesting and strange coincidence is that Spinal Tap is directed by Rob Reiner, not to be confused with Robb Reiner. I'll leave the connections at that. I suggest you watch both films if you haven't already. But certainly watch Anvil because a true story is always more interesting.

The Girlfriend Experience - Directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Sasha Grey - Rated R

Soderbergh's mainstream effort was much better.

Steven Soderbergh has an interesting career. Lately he has been making about two movies a year; one mainstream, one art house. The Informant! was Soderbergh's mainstream effort this year and The Girlfriend Experience (recently on DVD) is his independent film. I guess the main question is which Soderbergh do you like? I find myself edging towards the mainstream stuff, but I'm willing to check out the stranger Soderbergh films.

The Girlfriend Experience is about...well, I'm not sure what this film is about. Let's start with the title. The Girlfriend Experience is a reference to the type of work the main character Chelsea/Christine does. She's an escort, not to be confused with a prostitute. Men pay her to go on dates, for the most part. They talk about their lives, go to movies, go shopping, etc. In other words, she is a paid girlfriend. The film follows her around on some of these dates, but it interestingly leaves the sex off screen, the point being that the sex is only a minor part of the job to Chelsea. She seems to be more worried about her future. I'll just leave it at that, but the point is that this movie is more about the business of sex than it is about sex itself.

Keeping with that theory, Chelsea's boyfriend, Chris, is a personal trainer who is also worried about his financial future and you could argue that his job has sexual connotations as well since a lot of people work out to be attractive rather than to stay healthy.

The financial aspect of the film is a prominent subplot to this film as it was written/filmed during the latest financial crisis and it seems to be the only thing people talk about in the film. It's all kind of strange and it's all told in a disjointed narrative structure that kind of worked for me, I guess, but didn't really seem all that necessary. I don't know about this one, really. I can see how some people could latch on to it and praise it endlessly, but it left me kind of indifferent. So I think mainstream Soderbergh is better this year. Stick with The Informant! unless you're just really in the mood for something different.

Wages of Fear - Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, starring Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, and Folco Lulli - Not Rated

Nitroglycerin loaded trucks that could blow up any minute? Count the Kurgan in.

This French film from 1953 might seem like a random film to be reviewing, but there is a reason behind it. A few weeks back Stephen King mentioned the 1977 William Friedkin film Sorcerer in his Entertainment Weekly column. He mentioned that he liked that film, which is a remake of Wages of Fear, better than the original. I had not seen either at the time, so I decided to watch them both, starting with the original (review of Sorcerer to come in a week or two).

Wages of Fear, to put it shortly, is about four desperate men transporting nitroglycerin across a treacherous terrain. Of course they are getting paid very well for the job, hence the title. As you can imagine, a truck loaded with nitroglycerin on a lengthy trek through rocky roads creates quite a bit of suspense. This film handles that suspense superbly. I honestly found myself holding my breath at times. I don't want to go further into it, since suspense works better when you're unaware of what is coming next.

I will say this about the film, though. It is far too long. I didn't need the half hour or so beginning that took far too long to set up some rather simple issues. I suppose one could argue that the slow burn up to the actual action is part of the suspense, but I would argue that it is just plain boring and I nearly turned it off due to its pointlessness. So if you can get past that lengthy intro, you'll be treated to some great suspense. Is the remake better, though? I'll let you know what I think later this month.

One last thing: some people hate the ending of this film, but I found it hilarious and I honestly believe that Clouzot was going for a comedic look at life in general with that final moment. It's one of those scenes that comes after the characters have been through so much that my only possible response was to laugh.

Wait Until Dark - Directed by Terence Young, starring Audrey Hepburn, Richard Crenna, and Alan Arkin - Not Rated

A decent thriller, set apart by a creepy Alan Arkin.

Now I move on from the French suspense film to the 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark. I came across this one because the guys on the Filmspotting podcast talked about it a few weeks ago and I had never seen it. Normally when I watch a movie like this or for this reason, I don't write about it, but I kind of liked this one.

Wait Until Dark is about Susy Hendrix (Hepburn), a blind woman who is terrorized by three men after a doll filled with heroin. The doll was smuggled into America and ended up in Susy's husband's hands. It's an interesting situation when you factor in the blindness.

What really stuck out and made me want to write about this movie, though, is Alan Arkin. I have never really seen him in anything when he was younger and he really surprised me in this. I think his performance is creepy and funny enough to warrant a watch on its own. But the film still has some good moments and it's just as good (and in my opinion, better) than most of the gore filled thrillers out today.

And if you get a chance to rent the DVD, watch the warning/trailer on the special features. The gimmick of turning the lights completely off in the theater near the end is amusing and the mention of refraining from "lighting up" cigarettes is a funny reminder that people were actually allowed to smoke during movies at one time.

A Boy and His Dog - Adapted and Directed by L.Q. Jones, starring Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, and Jason Robards - Rated R

How could a dark comedy set after the apocalypse featuring a telepathic dog not get a Kurgan?

I don't know how this one stayed under my radar for so long. A Boy and His Dog (1975) is about Vic (Johnson) and his dog, Blood. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Oh, and Vic and Blood are able to communicate telepathically...and Blood is definitely the smarter of the two. They spend their days scavenging for food for both of them and, whenever Blood is well fed, women for Vic. After a plot summary like that, I had to watch this. Also, if you're a fan of the video game "Fallout 3" you'll notice the connections between the two almost instantly.

The summary may make the movie sound a bit goofy, but it certainly has its darker moments as well. Getting women does not really mean that Vic is wanting to find a wholesome woman to date. It's more like rape, though the film doesn't show anything like that. He is about to rape the female lead, but is interrupted by marauders and eventually is treated to something more consensual. It's the thought that counts, though, and that's a creepy thought. But hey, it's the apocalypse, what do you expect. For the reason just mentioned (but especially for what happens at the end) this film is considered misogynistic. I can see where people are coming from, but I'm the type that finds the fun in the movie before I look for any kind of social statement. And if you're looking for a social statement, there's more to be said about the underground society in the film than there is about how Vic treats the ladies he finds.

Enough of that serious crap, though, this film is a comedy at heart. The banter between Vic and Blood is downright hilarious. Their conversations set the tone for the film. Yeah, this is the end of the world, but that doesn't mean it can't be funny. It's also funny to imagine how Don Johnson felt, talking, sometimes yelling, at a dog throughout the shoot. With Zombieland (a film with a similar message) doing well at the box office, I think its fair to say that A Boy and His Dog is a bit before its time.

A Boy and His Dog is dark, funny, disturbing, and quite entertaining. If you're looking for a good cult classic, you can't go wrong with this one. Just ignore the misogyny and focus on the laughs.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"Zombieland" / "Away We Go"

Zombieland - Directed by Ruben Fleischer, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin - Rated R

Zombie killin' has never been more fun.

Zombieland might be the most fun I’ve had at the theater so far this year. It’s such a swift, wild ride and the characters inhabit it so naturally; it just plain works. Works as a comedy, that is.

This is not meant to be like the George Romero zombie movies (the original Dawn of the Dead). Most zombie movies deal with emotions and the mental anguish that comes with realizing your entire family and everyone you knew is dead. Sure, zombie movies of late have leaned towards comedy, most notably Shaun of the Dead, though that film is still very much a traditional zombie movie.

Zombieland, however, is a comedy first, a zombie movie second. Sure, we get the gross out close ups here and there and there are scenes of flesh eating, but the film doesn’t bombard you with it. Actually, the majority of the gross out stuff is done in the opening ten minutes.

The first ten minutes of the movie set the film’s tone perfectly. We begin with Jesse Eisenberg’s neurotic character, Columbus (every character is named after a location), delivering a voice over in which he lays out the rules of Zombieland like: Cardio, Wear a seatbelt, Beware of bathrooms, etc. These rules pop up onscreen every time they apply and it’s quite an amusing gimmick.

After the short intro, we’re treated to one of the best title sequences I’ve ever seen (but keep in mind, I love zombies). It’s a slow motion collage of terrified people running from, killing, and being killed by zombies, all set to the song “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica. I thought it was perfect.

So the world is great and the tone is set, but the characters have to match it. Eisenberg’s nervous and awkward character might rub some people the wrong way, but I thought he was hilarious. He’s been playing this same nerdy character since 2002’s Roger Dodger and he has perfected it. The fact that he is so typecast might be a problem, but put a double barrel shotgun in his hands and that image alone is good for a few laughs. And he’s the perfect actor to say lines like, “Oh, you almost knocked over your alcohol with your knife.”

If awkward Eisenberg isn’t your thing, then Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee probably is. The lovable redneck that gets a kick out of killing zombies is easily the funniest aspect of the film. He’s the kind of character most people would want to be in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Tallahassee is fearless, funny, and, most importantly, original when it comes to zombie killing. Anyone who plays a banjo to the tune of “Dueling Banjos” to get the attention of a zombie then bludgeons it with said banjo gets a thumbs up in my book.

The focus on Eisenberg and Harrelson isn’t to say that the other two stars, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin, don’t do a good job. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s just that their con artist characters don’t hold up against the male leads. This film belongs to Eisenberg and Harrelson. It also belongs to a hilarious celebrity in a cameo role, but that’s all I want to mention about that because the surprise of the cameo is what makes for half the laughs of that sequence.

I haven’t mentioned anything negative about the film and that’s because I can’t think of anything I didn’t like. I was worried about the short running time (81 minutes) before I watched it, but I wouldn’t have even noticed the running time if I hadn’t looked it up.

A movie like Zombieland doesn’t need two hours to tell its story. If it had tried to lengthen itself to two hours, the joke would get old very fast. The filmmakers knew exactly how long they could hold on to the audience.

Zombieland is a road trip comedy…with zombies. If you read that line and you’re interested, then you’ll love this movie. If that line sounds stupid, then skip it. If you’re a zombie lover like me, then Zombieland will be well worth the price of admission.

Away We Go - Directed by Sam Mendes, starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph - Rated R

Underneath the quirk, there's a great film.

Away We Go
, Sam Mendes' (American Beauty) latest, is a surprisingly light-hearted, sometimes hilarious look at the fears that come with the prospect of parenthood and long term relationships. I call it surprisingly light-hearted because Mendes' Revolutionary Road was one of the bleakest films I've ever seen. And while I did enjoy Road, I found this to be much more entertaining and certainly easier to watch.

The film starts with Burt (Krasinski) and Verona (Rudolph) finding out that Verona is pregnant. Cut to six months later, Burt's parents are moving away (and they were the main reason why Burt and Verona are living in the same area) so Burt and Verona decide to visit friends and family around the country (and Canada) in search of a place to settle and raise a family.

At this point the film really becomes a series of chapters in which Burt and Verona come across either ridiculously strange and/or depressed couples. Most of these are played for laughs, but the film tones things down here and there and gets serious. I think the serious moments strike a perfect balance for the film since some of the crazier couples seem too ridiculous at times. Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan are funny, but I found them a bit unrealistic. The most ridiculous couple, however, is Maggie Gyllenhaal and Josh Hamilton as a hippie/new age type couple that believe in expressing their sexuality in front of their children and refuse to use strollers because they symbolize "pushing your child away from you." I hope that people like that do not exist, but the payoff of that sequence makes their craziness completely worth it.

Of course, to like this movie you have to like the couple on this trek, as they represent a "normal couple." I found them to be a bit pretentious at times. First off, they live in some kind of shack out in the woods, which was never really explained. Verona is sickened by Burt's need to act like he's interested in sports when dealing with co-workers. Sports! So middle class! That along with Krasinski's "drama beard" have rubbed some people the wrong way with all the quirkiness the film showcases, but for the most part I was able to get past that. I thought Krasinski did a great job. I thought Rudolph did a fine job, even though she seems to catch a lot of crap for every role she plays.

All in all, Away We Go is very enjoyable, even though some people might be put off by the quirkiness and ridiculous characters. Beneath the exterior of pretentiousness and quirkiness there is a film that most people can relate to, even if they are not in the same situation as the characters. You can imagine how you feel in their situation and, for me at least, they react exactly how I would at times. So if you can get past some of the superficial problems with the film, you'll probably enjoy it.