Two strangers this attractive never just coincidentally bump into one another in real life.
One night, while trying to avoid a wedding reception that his ex-girlfriend just so happens to be at with a new man, Nick Vaughan (Chris Evans) plays his trumpet at a New York City train station, hoping to pass the time and get whatever change he can receive. While busking, he stumbles upon a woman who’s fortune isn’t all that great right about now; Brooke Dalton (Alice Eve) has just missed her 1:30 train to Boston and has no way of getting there in time so that her husband doesn’t find out what it is that she’s actually been up to, or better yet, where she’s been. Seeing an opportunity to do something nice for someone and to pass even more time, Nick decides to help Brooke find her way back home, even if there are a whole lot of twists and turns they run into throughout the whole night. But in the meantime, the two talk and get to know more about one another in ways that they never thought two strangers ever could. The only question constantly hammering around in their head is, where else can they take this?
You have to give some credit to Chris Evans, the guy seems to be trying. Love him, hate him, adore him, want him to banish forever so that your wife can stop foaming at the mouth for him, he’s one of the very rare guys in Hollywood who seems like he actually wants to be taken seriously. Even after the Fantastic Four movies, Evans aligned himself in some smaller, low-key indies that not only stretched his abilities as an actor, but also allows for his fans to see him in lights that they may not have expected to see him in – sometimes, unlikable ones. But even though Before We Go features Evans both behind of, as well as in front of the camera, there’s still a feeling that he seems to be trying harder and harder to have people take him in as more than just another superhero guy.
Even if the movie itself isn’t all that great.
That isn’t to say that Before We Go is bad, it’s just that it seems like Evans was trying too hard for something and it just didn’t pan-out too well for him. This makes sense considering that this is his first time directing a movie and it shows that maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t quite ready for to take whatever ideas he had to work with, film them, and make them out into a feature-length picture. Most of this has to do with the fact that the plot feels incredibly close to those of Linklater’s Before franchise; which may seem unfair to say considering that any movie featuring two strangers just aimlessly walking around and chatting with one another automatically brings any sort of comparisons to those movies, but it deserves to be said.
To just mimic a story that’s been done before, but placing different situations and characters, doesn’t mean you have an unoriginal movie, but to not do anything interesting with those different ideas, makes it feel like a lazy attempt at trying to recreate magic that’s already been used before. When Nick and Brooke decide to spend their night together with one another, trying their hardest to make one another’s lives a whole lot easier, it doesn’t feel like two characters actually wanting to do such tasks, it feels like a plot conceit. It’s almost as if Evans had the idea of the plot in his head, and didn’t actually think of any real problems that would come up and get in these two people’s ways while they were aiding one another; things just so happen to go right enough for each other that they spend more and more time together.
Which honestly, isn’t as bad as I may make it sound, but there’s nothing really interesting to these characters that makes the time we spend with them all the more compelling to sit by and watch. Nick is just a bearded-loser, but who has some amount of charm and is graced with the looks of Chris Evans, whereas Brooke feels uptight and prissy, but also happens to be very good-looking as Alice Eve. Both are good in these roles and obviously share a great deal of chemistry, but the movie gets in the way of itself too many times, that we hardly get a chance to see their relationship pan-out to much more than a series of coincidences that possibly draw them closer and closer together.
Not like real life at all.
And once again, I know this may not sound fair at all considering that movies are, well, made to allow for people to get out of their own real worlds, and into these fantastical, imaginary ones, but Before We Go doesn’t seem to be one of those movies. Evans seems as if he’s really really trying to strive for some sort of raw, gritty and dramatic realism in which two strangers could, inexplicably enough, meet one another, get along, help each other out, and somehow fall in love over a 10-15 hour period. I’m not saying that this can’t happen in real life, but the way it’s presented here, not only makes it seem tacky, but phony as well.
Still though, my heart is always falling back on the fact that Evans seems to be trying here. While it’s mostly common for actors to make their directorial debut projects as simple and as easy as just two people talking for nearly an-hour-and-a-half, there’s a part of me that feels like Evans was trying to do something smart and ambitious here. In fact, it’s so low-key and tiny of a movie, that it makes me wonder whether Evans started off with something small, and all of a sudden, change his mind about half-way through and wanted to strive for something a little bit larger.
Or, then again, maybe not. He probably just made a crummy movie.
Consensus: Despite the lovely chemistry between Alice Eve and Chris Evans, Before We Go is sadly, a misfire for Evans as a director, but shows that there may be some promise for him in the near-future.
4 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire