But one thing he does have in spades is resourcefulness.
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Evans clearly aspires to make a breezy and relatable, Richard Linklater-esque walk-and-talk movie, but lacks the skills to make it feel natural.
The script for the 89-minute film is somehow credited to four different writers (Ron Bass, Jen Smolka, Chris Shafer and Paul Vicknair) which might explain why the film feels so clumsy and leaden as it contrives to keep the more sensible solutions to get Brooke to Boston out of reach.
Not only are her resources gone, but conveniently, Nick’s cell phone has just run out of power, one credit card is overdrawn, the other is expired, and he’s got a limited amount of cash in his wallet.
The plight of the actor-turned-director is an unpredictable one.
The desire to tell your own story, direct and write or star in it (or sometimes take on all of those roles) is a attractive lure, and can turn out very well.
But as Ryan Gosling learned at Cannes earlier this year with “Lost River,” ambition, if not matched by execution, can come at a steep critical cost.
So credit to Chris Evans for keeping his goals modest with his directorial debut “Before We Go,” but unfortunately he can’t clear the low bar he sets for himself with this strained romantic drama that struggles desperately to be engaging, charming or relatable.
Things kick off with a pretty decent meet cute: in a rush to grab the last train to Boston from Grand Central Station, Brooke (Alice Eve) drops and breaks her cell in front of busking jazz musician Nick (Chris Evans).
She’s already gone before he can flag her down, but he gets another shot to return her mobile when, having missed the train, she comes back to the main terminal.