Sam Mendes Takes Cues from Noah Baumbach

While this summer is shaping up to be one for the fanboys—X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Star Trek and Terminator Salvation all open within four weeks of each other in May, while Transformers 2 hits theaters soon after—there is hope for people with slightly more refined tastes. (Not that we won’t be seeing all of those movies in theaters.) After putting audiences through the emotional ringer with his underappreciated adaptation of Revolutionary Road, Sam Mendes returns this summer with John Krasinski (sporting a grown-up beard) and the very-pregnant Maya Rudolph, for the indie-rific Away We Go. The just released trailer is the first glimpse we’ve had of his new film, and it has managed to totally recalibrate our expectations. When we originally heard about the project, we had envisioned something along the lines of an Albert Brooks movie—a young couple decides to trek across America looking for a place to raise their unborn child. Instead, Away We Go appears filled with the ennui and self-doubt that we’ve come to expect from Noah Baumbach. As our friend pointed out after watching the trailer: Away We Go even features Baumbach-regular Josh Hamilton wearing a fake ponytail.

Of course with the limited June release date (it hits theaters on June 5th, up against The Hangover) and indie rock music cue (Alexi Murdoch’s “All My Days”, for collectors), Away We Go is being positioned as more like a sequel to Garden State than Kicking and Screaming. We guess that’s fine for marketing purposes, but considering Dave Eggers and his wife Vendela Vida wrote this new film, we assume the script has a little more meat on its bones than something written by Zach Braff—in a race for which movie has aged worse during the last ten years, Garden State narrowly beats out American Beauty. Speaking of which, there is also the matter of Mr. Mendes. We’d venture to guess the director has never even seen Garden State, but what he’s obviously studied endlessly are Mike Nichols’ The Graduate, Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-drunk Love and the aforementioned Noah Baumbach oeuvre—the two-minute trailer features homage’s and outright lifts from all of those movies and directors. Hey, if you’re going to steal, you might as well steal from the best.