By William Wolf

WORLD TRAVELER  Send This Review to a Friend

How many men have pondered the state of their lives and wished that hey could opt for change? Billy Crudup, an actor with special appeal, plays Cal, one such character who would seem to have everything neatly in place in New York--success as an architect, an attractive wife and a young son. But there is something nagging at him, which we learn about later, and one day off he goes, driving cross-country without even leaving word with his wife as to what's up and where he's headed.

Call "World Traveler" a road movie or whatever, but Cal is on his way to a series of new encounters. He makes a new pal (Cleavant Derricks). He meets a pretty hitchhiker (Liane Balaban) and has another encounter with a woman played by Karen Allen. The most complicated situation occurs when Cal becomes involved with Julianne Moore as a woman encumbered by more baggage in her life than someone hitting the road with problems of his own is equipped to handle. Moore is a standout in a role that, apart from that of Crudup, dominates much of the film.

What is Cal really seeking? He makes a key contact out west that helps teach him something about the course of his own life and what's important to him. Sometimes what one seeks is at home.

Writer-director Bart Freundlich captures the beat of traveling cross-country and the spirit of restlessness that drives Cal. But not everything in the script is convincing, especially surrounding Cal's ultimate return, when any normal wife, instead of acting as if nothing had happened, would be expected to ask, "Where in hell have you been?" But this isn't that sort of picture. A THINKfilm release.


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