Away We Go
John D. MacDonald was known as a writer of mysteries. He is best known as the author of the Travis McGee series but MacDonald wasn’t just a mystery writer. He created some of the best characterizations you will find in fiction. Even his non-Travis books are deep and thoughtful. These aren’t Ian Fleming-like cardboard characters about whom JDM writes. They are thoughtful people, and we get to know them and their feelings.
That’s what I kept thinking while sitting through this new film, by director Sam Mendes, from a script by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida. While it is clearly a film that will appeal primarily to women, it really doesn’t fit in with the “chick flick” genre, even though it’s top heavy with feminine dialogue. In fact, there’s a running joke about one of Verona De Tessant’s (Maya Rudolph) private parts.
Burt Farlander (John Krasinski) and Verona are a mixed-race, unmarried couple expecting a child. The title refers to their gallivanting all over the continent trying to find a place to settle down. In each place, they come in contact with weird characters, all of whom have lots to say about relationships and raising children.
All this personal dialogue should make most men squirm, as it did me. Virtually all of the laughter was from the women in the audience, and there were lots of them. So I squirmed and looked at my watch a lot. I asked the guy sitting next to me, who was with his girlfriend, if he liked it. He said, “So-so.” But, in the end, the dialogue has depth, and is interesting and thought-provoking, even for a man.