Away We Go (2009)

There were so many times as I sat in the theater and watched John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph talk back and forth in character as Burt and Verona, when I wanted to turn to Lindsey and say, “That sounds just like us!” or “I can totally see us doing that.” or “I’ll bet that’s just like we would do.”

I should have seen Away We Go with Lindsey. But she was at home, doing laundry and cleaning up, taking her one day for herself in the week, and I was hiding from the heat of the day in a cool dark movie theater.

Burt and Verona are afraid they’re fuck-ups. They live in a broken-down house, have the kinds of jobs that don’t seem to require much interaction with anyone (he sells insurance to insurance companies, apparently by phone; she’s a freelance medical illustrator), and they’re expecting their first baby. They realize, on a deep level, that they need a support system to help them with raising their child; their first attempt at building one comes during dinner with Burt’s parents.

Burt’s parents, though (played with giddy selfish passion by Jeff Daniels and Catherine O’Hara) have decided to move to Amsterdam to follow some dream of theirs that they claim to have been putting off for a very long time. Their timing couldn’t be worse; they’re moving a month before the baby is due.

Verona’s fears are soothed by Burt’s optimism, and they decide to go on a road trip to visit various family members and old friends, to audition them for their role as the village they think it will take to raise their baby. The trip includes Arizona (Phoenix and Tuscon), Wisconsin, Montreal, and Florida, and we get to meet several different types of parents, most of them juuuuust outside of normal, which makes Burt and Verona seem normal by comparison, even though they aren’t.

OK, my description isn’t doing this movie justice. I just loved how Burt and Verona talked to each other, and I liked how they always seemed like real people; whether happy, or bored, or tired, or angry, they obviously loved each other very much. They wanted to make it work, and they feared they didn’t know how to make it all work.

Just like real people.

And holy crab; they’ve got some strange friends and family.