Review: Before We Go

This was previously reviewed as part of our TIFF2014 coverage.

PLOT: Two strangers (Chris Evans & Alice Eve) spend the night roaming around New York City after her purse is stolen, leaving them with no cash and plenty of time to kill before her 6 am train.

REVIEW: Being a fan of Chris Evans, I went into BEFORE WE GO wanting to like it. In interviews he often expresses a desire to move behind the camera, with this being his directorial debut. While not an obnoxious film or an especially bad one, there’s just nothing about it to latch on to, leaving it a hollow romance that feels like a pale imitation of Richard Linklater‘s BEFORE movies.

The big problem is that both Evans and co-star Alice Eve play fairly boring characters. Both have melodramatic reasons for being in New York, but the Maguffin that explains how they wind up stranded on the streets of New York for a day doesn’t make any sense. With Eve having her purse stolen, and left without money, she could have at least gone to a police station to report the crime and get some shelter, but that’s explained away dismissively, with Evans just saying, “oh the cops are no help.”  Later, this becomes somewhat easier to swallow where it’s revealed that Eve has to make it back to Boston by 8 A.M. to retrieve a letter she left behind for her husband which will end their marriage, about which she’s having second thoughts.

I guess the twist is that as perfect as the two seem to be for each other, they’re going for an unrequited vibe. The whole “will they or won’t they?” aspect could have worked, but only if you actually wanted to see the two together. Really, you won’t care, as they’re so boring. Evans is especially two-dimensional, with him playing a noble do-gooder nursing a broken heart and preparing for a big audition. He never feels like anything more than an idealized romantic stranger for audiences to swoon over. The same is mostly true for Eve, who plays the damsel in distress, and who – of course – just happens to be utterly gorgeous and with a troubled home life. Some of their adventures are obnoxiously twee, with a bit where they duet on “My Bloody Valentine” for an easily swayed party of businessmen being downright goofy, as is a bit where the two draw sketches of each other on the back of hotel paintings.

BEFORE WE GO gets especially troublesome in the last act, with a finale that seems to be a deliberate lift of LOST IN TRANSLATION. By constantly borrowing from other, better movies, Evans shoots himself in the foot, making his debut little more than a VOD curio that’s bound to disappear without much notice. Hopefully, between now and his next film Evans will develop a bit more of a style of his own. You can never really write someone off on the basis of their first movie, and while it’s not especially good, it’s not embarrassingly bad either. It’s just totally forgettable.

Review: Before We Go




About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.