Away We Go, director Sam Mendes' fifth studio release, is far and away his most organic work to date. It's not elegantly staged, not written with an exacting tone or much direction, and its soundtrack is composed of chipper songs by London-born indie folk-pop artist Alexi Murdoch instead of the deeply forceful musical scores customary to Mendes' films (American Beauty and Road to Perdition both featured Oscar-nominated scores by Thomas Newman). Away just wants to be something smaller or different than both any picture by its esteemed filmmaker and what America considers typical romantic-dramedy fare, perhaps even something patrons will call "cute", "funny", or "insightful" and liken to such films as Juno. But it's not Juno -- and that's mostly a good thing (Away We Go doesn't overload its dialogue with self-loving sarcasm and tiring pop-culture one-liners). However, whereas Mendes' latest piece doesn't embody the pretentiousness of Juno, it seems determined to be unimpressive and, in many parts, boring. Co-writers and husband and wife Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida time and again place the movie's city- and home-seeking couple, Verona (Maya Rudolph) and Burt (John Krasinski), in predictably hopeless situations opposite families or individuals who were written to appear either less in love (Lily, a married drunk played by Allison Janney, attempts to kiss Burt to no avail) as the protagonists or lesser altogether (Maggie Gyllenhaal's character and her husband are even called "terrible people") -- and it's not so much offensive as it is contrived and uninspired. And ironically manipulative: Here's a movie about a couple we the audience are to believe is a rare breed, yet nearly everyone else we come to know is abnormally crazy or has significant relationship troubles. But Away We Go has some tender moments, some genuine ones, and one or two sincerely funny ones -- and they all are borne from the chemistry between Krasinksi and Rudolph, and in spite of Eggers' and Vida's screenplay. If I had to recommend Away to anyone, I'd do so solely for the performances of the two leads -- particularly Rudolph, whose dramatic maturity on screen contradicts what most would expect after a nearly decade-long absence from non-comic work (she co-starred in 2000's TV drama City of Angels) -- and the quite cinematography of Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Ellen Kuras (last year's The Betrayal). Though I wish I could say more in support of this picture, I can't -- and I won't. Just know that I was rooting for Away We Go. I truly was, but I'm not anymore.