Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA/United Kingdom, 2009. Focus Features, Edward Saxon Productions, Big Beach Films, Neal Street Productions, Twins Financing. Screenplay by Dave Eggers, Vendela Vida. Cinematography by Ellen Kuras. Produced by Peter Saraf, Edward Saxon, Marc Turtletaub. Music by Alexi Murdoch. Production Design by Jess Gonchor. Costume Design by John Dunn. Film Editing by Sarah Flack. Washington Film Critics Awards 2009.
Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski are approaching one of life’s most dangerous adventures—parenthood. Well into their pregnancy, the couple are devastated when his free-wheeling parents (Jeff Daniels, Catherine O’Hara) announce that they have decided to finally follow their dreams, sell their house and move to Europe. This leaves our heroic duo feeling like they have no roots; they only moved to this town to be near their family, and now that they’re on their own they decide to try a variety of locations in order to discover where they truly belong. Their journey takes them all over the continent as they visit friends in Phoenix where a near-psychotic personality (a hilariously mouthy Allison Janney) frightens them immediately upon landing, to her sister in Florida, a severely devoted New Age couple in Connecticut (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Josh Hamilton) who object to strollers because they “push” their children away from them, and college friends in Montreal (Chris Messina, Melanie Lynskey) who have made up for their inability to have biological children by adopting a whole slew of them. Sam Mendes takes a welcome break from directing overly stylized, gooey dramas to make a fresh, fun little comedy about a couple of modern-day Dorothy Gales: these two need to find out that if it isn’t in their own backyard, they never really lost it to begin with. The conclusion is a bit too neat and tidy, smug with its own sense of poignant satisfaction, but the performances are all so appealing that you cannot help but be charmed by it. The time goes by effortlessly with this one.