John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph are a pair of 30-somethings who are expecting their first child. They have been counting on Krasinski’s parents to step in and help, but when these two suddenly announce that they’re moving to Belgium, our “heroic” couple embarks on a road trip to find the perfect place to settle down and have their baby. Numerous encounters with eccentric characters is the order of the day.
The script is by real-life literary couple Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, and it is clever. Too clever by half, in fact. What we see on the screen are not characters. Rather, they are actors spouting the dialogue put in their mouths by two writers enamored of their own wit. Sure, arch, stylized dialogue can work brilliantly (paging the Coen Brothers), but what we have here is merely precious. Deeply irritating.
For the most part, the colours are fine, with good contrasts and flesh tones. The image is sharp, and there is no grain. So far, so good, and anything less would have been unforgivable in the Blu-Ray format. However, the blacks are less than perfect. Much of the time, they work all right, but some night scenes look washed out and more grey than black.
No such reservations with the audio. The track is very nice, with a distinct, but subtle use of surround that creates an environment without being obtrusive. The music and dialogue work well, too, and the result is the sort of quiet elegance one associates with, say, Wes Anderson. It is very much in keeping with the tenor of the film, and if you like the film (which, obviously, I didn’t), the sound will be a perfect match for it.
Commentary Track: Eggers, Vida and director Sam Mendes get together for this track, and here the articulate wit of all involved is rather more welcome. The comments are informative, and the chat is engaging.
My Scenes and BD Live: Send clips of your favouite moments from the film to your friends, and watch trailers and the like (all of which obviously requires an Internet connection).
The Making of Away We Go: (16:13) Typical promotional fluff.
Green Filmmaking: (6:38) A short featurette on the environmental good behaviour of the filmmakers..
Sorry, but this thing has brought out my inner Scrooge. This is a movie way, way too pleased with itself.