Now may not be the best time to use Sam Mendes and last chance saloon in the same sentence but that was kind of how I was feeling about him as a film maker before watching this Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida scripted rom-com (Eggers is another one who was on a verbal warning until Zeitoun - review coming up next week). Mendes it seems is never going to make what you might call a pacey movie but this film does at least have some charm to it and a pair of likable leads in John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. As Burt and Verona they play a young couple, pregnant with their first child, worried that they aren't quite grown-up enough for the responsibility, something born out by their ramshackle house and slightly unfocused lives. When Burt's parents drop the bombshell that they will be leaving the country for Europe a month before the baby is due Burt and Verona turn the loss of the only thing holding them in Denver into an opportunity to travel the country, visiting friends, to find the perfect spot for them to move and raise their child.
Beginning with the scene with Burt's parents the film is like a collection of vignettes or sketches, each destination and, in particular, each friend they visit is given full blooded performances by actors like Catherine O'Hara, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Allison Janney. Our young couple are not only auditioning various cities for the role of family home but also various methods of upbringing. The more absurd these episodes become (Maggie Gyllenhaal's 'continuum method' mum is a particular kind of mental) the more we realise that the couple we might have taken for flaky quirks at the beginning are by far the sanest of the bunch, and do at least have genuine love for one another.
Nothing to get too excited about, but a very pleasant way to spend an evening (far more pleasant than (500) Days Of Summer for example).