John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph
Burt (Krasinski) and Verona (Rudolph) are an unmarried couple who are expecting a child and find out that Burt’s parents are moving out of the country right before the baby is born. Thus, they have no ties to their current location and head out on a road trip to visit various family and friends to see if they can find a good place to move to.
Before I talk specifically about this movie, let me say that I’m starting to realize that I’m growing a little weary of standard indie film practices such as using constant male-lead-singer-songs (usually Nick Drake) over 90% of the film in lieu of an actual musical score. It works sometimes, but I grow tired of it when they can’t go five minutes without starting up another song. There’s also some typical camera shots that maybe need to be shelved for a while. The still shot of a car driving across a barren landscape, sunset in the background, and one of those angsty songs playing over it all. Or how about the jetliner reflected interestingly in a window as it flys by. These things, and more, are becoming staples in a lot of indie films, a genre that should be stretching the boundaries of creativity rather than just copying others that came before it.
All that being said, I liked this movie. The characters are good, and the performances – especially the two leads – made me care about their fates. It’s nice to see a happy couple who don’t go through a break-up and a less than believable reconciliation.
There are a lot of funny moments from the supporting cast, especially Allison Janney as Verona’s wildly inappropriate former boss who wants the two to move to Phoenix. As Burt and Verona visit all of these people, they start to realize that they aren’t the only screwed up, immature people in the world. In fact, they are probably in a lot healthier relationship than most of the friends they visit. I kept waiting for them to finally meet that one happy couple that really would provide hope for a happy future, and I thought that’s what they had found with the couple who had adopted several children, but even they have an underlying sadness in their lives that contributed to the movie being a bit of a downer in the last 1/4 of it.
The end manages to be touching, but not in a hugely uplifting way. Just in a “well maybe things will be okay” sort of way, which is probably the more realistic route for the movie to take. I just wish it had been a bit more uplifting to make up for the overall effect built up by the myriad of screwed up relationships throughout the movie.
10 – 1.6 for those typical trademark indie film stylistic choices – 1 for being a bit of a downer + .2 for all the good performances = 7.6