After missing the last train home to Boston from New York’s Grand Central Station, Brooke (Alice Eve) experiences a series of unfortunate events. Her purse gets stolen, her phone breaks, and she has to make it home before her husband gets back in the morning. She uneasily accepts the help of a kindly busker (Chris Evans) who offers to help her raise some cash and keep her company throughout the night. It’s not long before the two star crossed strangers start noticing that they have a lot more in common than they initially suspected.
Before We Go marks the directorial debut of actor Chris Evans, but it doesn’t really mark the arrival of a new filmmaking talent or someone that’s ready to make the jump from in front of the camera to a life behind it. It’s a standard meet-cute romance that really only shows how Evans watched Lost in Translation and Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy a bunch of times before taking on a script that inexplicably took four people to create. It only takes one person about five minutes to figure out everything that’s going to happen in the film, so how so many people devoted so much time to a project so thoroughly bland and lifeless is somewhat unbelievable.
But outside of some eye rolling levels of cliché in terms of dialogue about how the main character’s lives are messed up and that they need to learn responsibility, the main problem here is that Eve and Evans never make for a perfect match. Evans, who is a very likable screen presence, is far too nice, and Eve never finds a way to spar with her co-star. The dialogue, bad as it might be, deserves something a bit more rapid fire, and although Evans tries to direct it as such, Eve never gets a handle on it. These characters start in two different worlds, and although the script says otherwise, they always feel out of touch despite the best efforts of the filmmaker to try and make a connection.
In Evans’ defense though, he has at least created a cliché knock-off that moves fast and looks great. There’s a sense of urgency and New York looks appropriately sketchy and romantic whenever it needs to take centre stage. That should at least count for something. Here’s hoping he has better material next time out.