Before We Go

Posted by Joel Copling on September 15, 2015

"Before We Go" works incredibly hard in its final 15 minutes to bring together its two primary characters in a romantic fashion that feels inorganic in comparison to what comes before this random shift. That is not to say, however, that the preceding eighty minutes doesn't have its problems. It does, courtesy of a screenplay by Ron Bass, Jen Smolka, Chris Shafer, and Paul Vicknair that loads its simple scenario to the point of immense strain. Its premise is a simple one, more attuned to the intimate treatment a short film might be able to give it, and the adventures that ensue, bringing our protagonists all across the streets of New York City (captured rather mundanely by cinematographer John Gulesarian) in search of a way to get one of them back to Boston, are far too slapdash to keep one's interest.

It doesn't help that we aren't allowed the space to figure out whether we even like these two characters upon first meeting them. Nick Vaughan (Chris Evans, who also makes his directorial debut here and seems more sure of himself behind the camera than in front of it) seems a bit arrogant and entitled despite his situation. He turns most things said by Brooke Dalton (Alice Eve in a performance that constantly seems distracted or disinterested) about herself onto himself, and the two have a rough go of it at the start when they spout off a series of lies upon meeting. She introduces herself as a character from a popular, New York City-set television show; he makes it seem like he's well off, even if they did meet when he was playing a trumpet in the middle of Grand Central Station. She needs to get back to Boston for reasons that are eventually revealed to be easily predictable; he's trying to avoid the wedding reception of a friend because his ex is there with another guy.

The problem is that Brooke's purse has been stolen by someone. She has neither money nor identification to call a cab or get a hotel room, and in her haste to get to the train that leaves just as she runs to get on it, she dropped her phone, which broke. Nick returns it to her and attempts to help her, but his phone no longer has a charge and his credit cards are either maxed out or expired. The film, then, is an account of their journey through New York to see how they can get her on her way (He finally faces the music with his ex, played by Emma Fitzpatrick, only to come away predictably disappointed by some equally predictable news, while she tries and fails to prevent the end of her own relationship by confiscating a letter she never should have written). But the lack of a solid romantic foothold for these two, clearly platonic souls makes for an awkward homestretch during which would-be-touching speeches and deep staring into each other's eyes fall resoundingly flat. "Before We Go" goes down with the ship long before this with a kind of intentional aimlessness, but these things were the nail in the coffin.

Film Information

Chris Evans (Nick Vaughan), Alice Eve (Brooke Dalton), Emma Fitzpatrick (Hannah), John Cullum (Harry), Mark Kassen (Danny), Elijah Moreland (Cole), Daniel Spink (Tyler).

Directed by Chris Evans and written by Ron Bass, Jen Smolka, Chris Shafer, and Paul Vicknair.

Rated PG-13 (brief language, suggestive content).

89 minutes.

Released in select cities on September 4, 2015.