This still-untitled “relationship comedy” from director Sam Mendes and novelists/screenwriters Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida (they’s married!) is shaping up to be a nice, low-key collaboration – which is perfect for Mendes, who’s lost his way with one too many prestige pictures (though I’m still hoping for great things from Revolutionary Road). The very simple premise of a young, expectant couple wandering the U.S. in search of a suitable community in which to raise a family is ripe for either a satirical or gently whimsical approach. It could also be a remake of Moving.
Though Mendes has spoken highly of the late-80s Richard Pryor vehicle in numerous interviews (none of which I can track down at the moment), I have a feeling he’s more inclined toward a quirkier kind of cinematic comedy; true, he’s done barbed relationship stuff in the past (albeit on stage with Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing), but I think he’s generous enough with his characters to allow for a sort of Bill Forsyth/Local Hero vibe. It also helps that I can’t see Eggers and Vida writing anything too acerbic.
So it’s interesting that Mendes has gone with two actors – Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) and John Krasinski (The Office) – best known for their television work. Krasinski makes sense if only because he appeared in Mendes’s Jarhead (I’m trying to remember his performance, and drawing a blank), but, aside from her tiny role in A Prairie Home Companion, Rudolph hasn’t done much outside of the broadly comedic realm. I really hope Mendes isn’t after something more sitcom-y, but the additional casting of Cheryl Hines (so great on Curb Your Enthusiasm) makes me wonder.
Focus Features will finance and distribute this unknown quantity. I imagine it’ll turn up next year, but Mendes did just take an extra year to complete Revolutionary Road, so who knows.