Chris Evans has added himself to the list of actors-turned-directors with his debut, Before We Go, a romantic dramedy in which Nick Vaughn (Evans) meets Brooke (Alice Eve) in Grand Central Terminal after she misses her train. Long story short, the two set off into the Manhattan streets in the middle of the night to try and locate her stolen purse so she can get home. Eventually they bare their souls to each other, and together work out their own past mistakes.
Critics mainly agree, however, that the Captain America star shouldn't hang up his shield for a place behind the camera just yet. But some do note that, for a first directorial effort, it's not so bad.
"...Nick and Brooke never seem much more real or complex than the smiling suburbanites in the Sunday-circular ads, their myriad crises plastered on top rather than felt from within," writes Variety's Scott Foundas. "Even when Evans tries to inject some suspense into the proceedings by giving Brooke a secret reason for needing to be home before daybreak, you never really feel there's much at stake."
The Huffington Post credits Evan for doing the best work possible with the little he was given. "Evans did a good job with what he had in front of him. The problem with Before We Go was the writing. He chose a script with 4 writers. A screenplay with one writer is a good number," Lee Alport explains. "...The honest truth is the script was simply bland. And Evans made the best of it."
Critics also suggest that Evans is trying to turn Before We Go into Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise. Sadly, he falls short and delivers uninteresting characters.
"Before We Go is like going on a date with someone who only talks about their ex," writes IndieWire. "Indeed, much of Brooke and Nick's time together is spent focused on people who have hurt them, so when we're supposed to believe during the third act that they are being drawn to each other, it's a bit mysterious why they find each other interesting, beyond having a mutual shoulder to cry on."
Wonderland Sound and Vision
The New York Post was disappointed all around except when it came to the New York City setting. "Before We Go is best when it lets Evans and Eve banter on stoops, but the screenplay, by Ron Bass and Jen Smolka, is heavy on clichéd set pieces," writes Sara Stewart. "An impromptu duet in a bar to earn some cash. A visit to a wise old psychic behind a tacky window display. Evans shoots the city with some genuine warmth and grit, but returns too often to lingering close-ups of Nick and Brooke looking star-crossed."
Will you see Before We Go? Chris Evans is in front of the camera too after all.