Wednesday, July 1, 2009

8 @ The Movies: 2 Reviews/1 Movie

A few weeks ago I went to see Away We Go, which stars SNL alum Maya Rudolph along with John Krasinski of The Office.

Here's a brief synopsis of the movie if you couldn't check the trailer I linked to:

"Longtime (and now thirtysomething) couple Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) are going to have a baby. The pregnancy progresses smoothly, but six months in, the pair is put off and put out by the cavalierly delivered news from Burt’s parents Jerry and Gloria (Jeff Daniels and Catherine O’Hara) that the eccentric elder Farlanders are moving out of Colorado – thereby eliminating the expectant couple’s main reason for living there." -

The reason I titled this blog 2 Reviews/1 Movie, is because I have ambivalent feelings about this movie. I guess I should give the bad news first.

The Social Review:

I first must disclose that I have a bit of a crush on Maya Rudolph. I think it's primarily because she's funny. I tend to like funny women, so that may taint this review.

Anyway, one of the things that really irked me about this movie was the fact that conveniently her parents are both dead. I say conveniently because we've seen this same song & dance with another biracial actress recently, Rashida Jones. They killed her parents off in I Love You, Man, which is kind of a big deal in a movie about a wedding. Hell, the bride's father typically pays for the wedding, right? The Root, briefly touched on this whitewashing in their article, Rashida Jones & The Hollywood Shuffle.

I feel race shouldn't be the issue in movies, but it should exist. They conveniently killed off her family for the sake of the movie. Both Rashida & Maya's race were the giant elephant in the room to me. At least in Away We Go, they did have a character ask if the baby would be Black in passing. Also, they gave Maya's character a sister in the form of Carmen Ejogo, but she was in and out of the movie in a blink. Plus, her skin seemed to be lighter than I had ever seen it and the character was supposed to be living in Arizona.

I guess I was just hoping for a slightly more diverse cast since one of the leads happened to be biracial. Black actors need some love, too. lol

The Entertainment Review:

It was weird watching the trailers & seeing the movie posters leading up to actually watching the film. Going into it, I really wasn't sure if this thing was a comedy or drama. I know the two leads are known for comedy, but the trailers left me with the impression that the movie was a drama with funny moments. It turned out to be a pretty straightforward comedy.

I saw it as a more realistic and funny Dumb & Dumber. I compare it to that movie because both of the lead characters seemed pretty vapid to me. I know the characters of Dumb & Dumber were full of life, but they were empty headed. These two leads seemed just as empty headed. Why are they living in an shack without heat? Why are they so concerned that his parents are going on a vacation? The soon to be grandparents weren't the sharpest pencils in the box, themselves. A couple in their early to mid-thirties that's expecting their first child decides to live like this? If they have the money to zig-zag across the country, why didn't they use this money for a decent place to live? Why does Maya not want to marry John, but feel he's good enough to be the father to her child? I wanted to shake the hell out of both Maya & John's characters at times.

The road trip that you witness throughout the rest of the movie is pretty funny, but the first couple they visit kind of steals the film. I never laughed harder than when Allison Janney & Jim Gaffigan's characters were on screen. Think Al & Peg Bundy uncensored with Peg on speed & Al drunk.

Overall it was a very entertaining movie, with a pretty dumb ending. When you see the ending the first thing you will say to yourself is probably, "Why didn't they do that in the first place?"

Thanks for stopping by,



Stephanie said...

I've been wanting to see this movie... thanks for the heads up since I didn't really know what to expect.

8thlight said...

No problem. I went to see it for Maya, but Allison Janney definitely stole the show. John & Maya had funny lines, but Janney was definitely the most memorable performance in the movie.