With all the substance of an advert for a car or a cheap perfume, Before We Go is Chris Evans’ sickly and nastily sentimental romantic drama. It’s a lazy, twee, unfathomably self-indulgent, pseudo philosophical piss stain on Before Sunrise – the Richard Linklater film it so desperately tries to imitate.
Unlike Before Sunrise, Before We Go’s walky-talky brand of romance lacks any sense of complexity and depth. Nick (Evans) and Brooke (Eve), who meet when she misses a late night train out of NY, are so incredibly 2D and bland that to wring anything out of them that goes beyond the topic of relationships is a painstaking process. Their conversations are about love and letting go and “making the jump”, yet there is no traceable element of real human nature inside of them. Nick is charming and funny, while Brooke is pretty and flustered but both are bland. Of course they do have back stories. Nick has an old girlfriend in New York that he’s putting off seeing and Brooke needs to get back to Boston to save a failing marriage. Even when they talk about these problems though, they’re still tedious and completely plastic. Beyond talking about themselves, their characters seem to fade in to a dull void.
Much of the charm of Before Sunrise (and indeed its sequels) is its characters are registerable humans. They talk about philosophy, literature and suspicion. They talk about the world that is beyond their own. And if we are to believe two people on a screen can fall in love, they have to be relatable, human and interesting. A romantic drama of whitened teeth smiles, twinkling city lights and bland, sugary sentimentality is not challenging or interesting. It’s just an exercise in schmaltz.