In Chris Evans' directorial debut, he is Nick. Nick is in NYC for a reason and a sign. He had a reason to be there, but didn't want to go only for that reason, so he waited for a sign. The sign was an audition to play the trumpet for a jazz band he admires, so he's there; but the reason is happening first, and he just can't get himself to leave Grand Central. Not, that is, until he sees a panicked young lady run by him, dropping and breaking her phone. Brooke (Alice Eve) was in New York for business, but she had her purse stolen, missed her train and then even broke her cell phone. She has no money and no way to get home, and it is vital to her that she get home by 7:00am. The time now is 1:30am.
|Let the adventuring begin!|
The movie takes place in those few hours on that one night, as these two people wander the streets of New York in the early morning, trying to find a way home for Brooke; strangers at first, slowly becoming closer as the night progresses. It is so much of a simple and traditional premise for a romance, that it actually felt totally original to me. The plot may be predictable and simple, but then the indie-flick side steps in, with a little bit of a deep side, and an nontraditional romantic side, and things start to go places that I would never expect a rom-com to go, but have always wished they would.
Our two leads, who basically run a two-man show here, are both very, very talented actors. Their chemistry is easy and their dynamic throws back to your basic "Pride and Prejudice"-style formula; original dislike leading to snarky quips and insulting banter, which leads to honest discussion, that leads to... well, you know. It's the tried and true rom-com formula. It's a throwback though, because the "perfected" formula also requires sub-par acting (even from capable actors) slapstick, and awkward-type comedy, and mounds of cheese -- things you will not find in this movie. Chris and Alice give real life to their characters, and make them banter, argue, goof off, open up, and fall in love in a way that actually seems plausible.
|Still, no one's skimping on the romance either.|
It doesn't go too gooey and sappy with the romance, and boldly and gracefully skirts around the hogwash pitfalls that so many rom-coms have gleefully jumped into. Sentimental silliness like fate, soul mates, love at first sight, or that magical moment where "you just know" are all disposed of, and replaced with selfless love, characters who actually get to know each other, and the controversial notion that you can choose to love someone. Most romances preach "you can't choose who you fall in love with" like it's universal fact, so I particularly appreciated that idea being questioned here.
For a rom-com, it does occasionally lean heavily to the side of drama, but I must say that when there is comedy, it is really, actually good comedy. Every time I burst out laughing from an unexpectedly good line or joke my impressed level went up. Even with the drama I laughed more than I would at a normal rom-com, though that's not too hard a feat -- and neither did I laugh as much as I do at straight comedies. They never skimped on quality, original, smart comedy, and it was well-balanced with the engaging drama.
|The cuteness. Oh, the cuteness.|
Though the general audience seems to like this movie as much as I did, I'm surprised at the dismally low critic score this one currently has on RT. It is by no means the best movie ever or anything -- it's very minimalistic, sometimes felt shallow (like rom-coms are apt to do), and had some parts that could have potentially been improved, but neither is it even close to a failed attempt at a good movie, as those critics would like you to think.
It won't be winning any Oscars, but it's a romantic comedy; it's not meant to. What it is meant to do, it does -- thoroughly, capably, stylishly, and with great sincerity. It entertains, it charms, it makes us laugh, and think, and get involved with its characters; it tells a story -- a story that is told well, and quite enjoyable, and is strangely familiar, yet strangely unexpected. Before We Go is a lovely balance between the quirky, hand-crafted independence of indie films, and the traditional, romantic fun of old, heyday-classic romantic comedies.