Verona De Tessant and Burt Farlander are in their early thirties living in the Denver, Colorado area and struggling to meet daily needs and build fulfilling lives. When they learn they will soon become parents, they are confronted with the challenge of how – and where – to raise a child and build a happy family. Six months into Verona's pregnancy, the couple visit their only family in the area, Burt's parents, Gloria and Jerry, only to find that Gloria and Jerry have decided to move to Antwerp, Belgium, a month before the baby is due. They also announce that they will be gone for two years and they have already rented the place out to another couple, despite Burt's and Verona's situation. Frustrated with Gloria and Jerry's selfishness and careless attitude, Burt and Verona decide this is an opportunity to find somewhere else to raise their family, since they are both employed in situations where they can work from home and live wherever they choose. They first visit Phoenix, Arizona, meeting up with Verona's old boss, Lily, her husband, Lowell, and their two children. Burt in particular is disturbed by Lily and Lowell's crass and mean-spirited behavior toward one another and their children. Burt and Verona next visit Verona's sister, Grace, in Tucson, Arizona. At Verona's request, Burt tries to persuade Grace to stay with her boring boyfriend. When Burt takes a call and displays his trademark humor, Grace tells Verona that she is lucky to have him and Verona agrees. They next visit Burt's childhood friend and pseudo-cousin in Madison, Wisconsin, "LN" , a college professor at the University of Wisconsin with inherited money and radical views about parenting. Burt and Verona bring a stroller as a gift, greatly angering LN as she and her husband Roderick are a "continuum home." When Roderick's condescension and LN's backhanded compliments to Verona get to be too much for Burt, he tells them they are horrible people and he and Verona leave but not before taking their son on a wild stroller ride throughthe house. Burt and Verona then visit old college friends in Montreal, Tom and his wife, Munch Garnett, and their diverse family of adopted children. Verona and Burt are happy to have found a loving family and a nice town and decide to move to Montreal. When the couples go to dinner, it is revealed that Burt has proposed marriage to Verona many times, but she always refuses. After dinner, Tom confesses to Burt that Munch has recently suffered her fifth miscarriage and that they seem unable to have biological children. In the morning, Burt receives an emergency call from his brother, Courtney, in Miami, whose wife has left him. Burt and Verona fly to Miami, where Courtney worries about his young daughter and the potential effects of a divorce on her. Burt tries to comfort Courtney while Verona spends time with his daughter. Burt and Verona spend the night outside on a trampoline, promising to love each other and their daughter and have a happy home. The next day, Verona tells Burt a story about her childhood house and her parents. Moved by her memory, they decide to settle in Verona's old family home on the Florida Panhandle. Realizing it is the place for them, they sit together happily, overlooking the water.
John Krasinski as Burt Farlander
Maya Rudolph as Verona De Tessant
Carmen Ejogo as Grace De Tessant
Jeff Daniels as Jerry Farlander
Catherine O'Hara as Gloria Farlander
Allison Janney as Lily
Jim Gaffigan as Lowell
Maggie Gyllenhaal as LN
Josh Hamilton as Roderick
Melanie Lynskey as Munch Garnett
Chris Messina as Tom Garnett
Paul Schneider as Courtney Farlander
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 67% based on 187 reviews, with an average rating of 6.57/10. The critical consensus reads, "Built on a set of quirks and charms that are as noticeable as they are interchangeable, Away We Go is a sweet but uneven road trip". A.O. Scott of The New York Times described the two main characters as self-righteous people "aware of their special status as uniquely sensitive, caring, smart and cool beings on a planet full of cretins and failures". In response to reviews "accusing Verona and Burt of being smug, superior and condescending," Roger Ebert said that "these are not sins if you have something to be smug about and much reason to condescend." He gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 58 out of 100, based on 33 reviews.
The soundtrack of Away We Go was released on June 2, 2009, and primarily features songs from singer/songwriter Alexi Murdoch, instead of an original film score.