World Traveler is about the dull exploits of Cal (Crudup), who has a premature mid-life crisis and hits the road, leaving his cushy career as an architect, his beautiful wife and cute 3-year old son behind. He is also a philandering schmuck and all-around asshole. The normal reaction would be, this role isn?t too much of a stretch for Crudup, since he did walk out on his pregnant girlfriend, Mary-Louise Parker of 7 months. But that?s beside the point. Even if art didn?t imitate life, Crudup is still the best actor for the job. Unfortunately, it?s a job not worth doing. Cal is an A-grade A-h0le, to the point where he leaves a path/trail of unconscious destruction in his wake. I understand what Cal is going through, but I don?t, can?t, sympathize with him.
This film is about how Cal decides to become a father to his son at the end of the film. The reason he left in the first place? He has father issues. Oh ho, didn?t see that one coming, did you? He actually drove cross-country and decided to see his dad, after 22 years. Cal asks his father why he left them. The father said he wanted a better life. The next day, when the father asks Cal why he?s going home, Cal says he wants a better life. Cal?s journey is about proving to himself that he has a choice, so when he goes back, you know it?s because he chose to go back. Whether his wife should take him back is another issue entirely.