Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Via Netflix and our cable system's "On Demand" service, we caught a couple of very funny yet smartly character-driven movies during the past week or so. Both were nicely written ensemble pieces that in some way touched on young couples dealing with the responsibilities of marriage and adulthood while still within shouting distance of their formerly carefree, irresponsible and open-minded college days.
In Away We Go, young couple Burt and Verona, played by John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, travel around the U.S. and Canada trying to pick a place to raise their soon-to-arrive first child. As Burt and Verona visit friends and relatives all around the continent, trying to decide which family they want to live near (they're really trying to pick out who their emotional support system will be in the immediate years to come), they see eye-opening and often hilarious examples of how exactly they don't want to raise their own children. Sam Mendes directs a strong script by Dave Eggars and Vendela Vida.
In the low-budget but capably filmed Humpday (written and directed by Lynn Shelton) young marrieds Ben and Anna (Mark Duplass and Alycia Delmore) are thrown for a loop when Ben's old college buddy Andrew (Joshua Leonard) drops into their lives, still very much living the whatever-goes slacker life from the two buddies' school days. Don't get too distracted by the intentionally over-the-top central plotline involving Andrew and Ben's harebrained idea to shoot a very unusual erotic art film for a local film festival, and just enjoy all the great conversations (in turns sharp, funny, and heartbreaking) between Ben, Anna, and Andrew about responsibility, compromise, dreams, and life in general.
Away We Go and Humpday (both originally released in 2009) will provide strong doses of smarts and laughs when you're in the mood for an enjoyable evening of home viewing. Check 'em out.