The two and a half minute trailer for “Away We Go” the new sun drenched feature penned by husband and wife Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida (yes that Dave Eggers) and Directed by American Beauty’s Sam Mendes, feels like an amalgam of every emotionally resonant, commercially successful indie of the last 20 years.
Firstly it features noted comedians, The Office’s John Krasinski and former SNL regular Maya Rudolphin in dramatic roles (think Jim Carey in “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind”, Adam Sandler in “Punch Drunk Love”, Steve Carrel in “Little Miss Sunshine” and Bill Murray in anything he’s done in the last two decades), Jeff Daniels stars as the protagonist’s Father (The Squid And The Whale), it’s Produced by Focus Features the art house division of Universal (“Lost In Translation”, “21 Grams”, and “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind” again), the characters are so quirky they border on caricature (any Wes Anderson film ever), the trailer uses a plaintively meandering acoustic ditty and hand drawn titles (Juno), it features pregnancy (Juno again), a road trip (“Little Miss Sunshine” again, “About Schmidt” and “Sideways”), and explores the premature onset of midlife crisis (“Garden State”, “The Science Of Sleep” and “I Heart Huckabees”). Add that to the sun-drenched cinematography, dry as Mars dialogue and oddball supporting cast and it’s like a pandering web of indie cliches.
Of course that isn’t necessarily a bad thing provided the formula is tweaked enough to offer something original. Did I mention that Dave Eggers wrote it and Sam Mendes is directing? With such heavyweights of the literary and cinema worlds attached “Away We Go” should be a good film, great even. A heartbreaking work of staggering genius? Probably not, but I’ll be front of the queue when it’s released in Australia.