I'd almost been persuaded not to watch Away We Go based on a fair amount of dismissive scuttlebutt I'd absorbed through the horror that is the Internet. The Netflix envelope had been sitting around for a week. I certainly didn't want to subject Jack to it -- he's a fairly open-minded guy, but the movie had a pregnant woman in it, and as I'd just been watching The Business of Being Born and seen how he avoided the room for ninety minutes on the off chance he'd be faced with anything birth-y, I figured I'd spare him Away We Go because it had a pregnant lady in it and YOU JUST NEVER KNOW, THEY CAN BLOW AT ANY MOMENT. Plus, Jack had watched Jackson emerge from me in Sensurround IMAX with 3-D Smell-O-Vision, and he's made it pretty clear that that was enough precious emergence for one lifetime. Fine.
Wow, what a preamble, huh! So I cracked open a leftover bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse and I found Away We Go absolutely delightful. And the moment it was over I started to wonder what was wrong with me. For liking it. Am I not jaded enough? Am I too easily swept up in the charm of things and incapable of bringing the hammer of discernment down on a film that a whole bunch of people said blows? Does having a decade on the main characters airlift me out of the second-hand Eames chair where you sit being huffy at a director for not "getting" what it's truly like to be thirtysomething with thrift-y taste, a positive outlook, and some questions about the possibility of creating a happy family?
I had no one to talk to (as usual) about this, so I went to imdb.com. There I found a few bland discussions about the film, including one started by a guy (?) who was cranky for some interesting reasons that seemed to center around the fact that Jim from The Office was in the film but he wasn't as funny in this movie as he is on The Office! Apparently thread-starter walked into the theater expecting a movie version of his favorite TV show and then became greatly affronted when John Krasinski's character didn't smirk enough. THAT, my friends, is . . . I don't even know what it is. Is that level of attachment to your own expectations even possible?
I found a friend in Roger Ebert, which was somewhat reassuring. (I like Roger Ebert. If you don't like him, that doesn't mean we can't still be friends, I'm sure we can find other common ground. How do you feel about fruit-flavored V-8 juice?)
Ebert led me to A.O. Scott, and then I got it, I got where all the disgust was coming from. I really like A.O. Scott, but I think he was riding on the other side of the boat from where I was so we saw some different things. He felt Bert and Verona traveled around thinking they were better than every couple they visited on their trek around the country, whereas I took it more as they were just innocent of what happens on the other side of adulthood, and were shocked at how people they'd known years earlier had evolved into life circumscribed by marriage and children. People crack. Or they turn into who they need to be to make shit work. Who was it who said (probably a million people) that they were a perfect parent before they had kids? That's all it is. I thought Bert and Verona were on the mild side of the pre-kid smugness continuum, actually; but we all project our own stuff on other people, so maybe where I see two people who love each other but don't have a clue how hard it's going to get, A.O. Scott sees two people who love each other and think they're better than everyone else.
(I wonder how he feels about fruited V-8?)