Director: David Wain
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, and Ken Marino
There are three very different ways of living that are presented in Wanderlust. George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) live in the super busy go-go-go world of living in a New York City “microloft”, aka studio. There is the glamorous Atlanta mansion where George’s older brother (Marino) lives. On the other end of the spectrum is a hippie commune. Linda is a down on her luck documentarian who presents a movie about penguins with testicular cancer to HBO. Due to a lack of vampires, sex, and violence HBO turns her movie down. On the same day, George was let go from his job as the Feds come in and cease the joint. Even though they just bought a tiny New York studio, they realize they can longer afford it as they are out of work. Their only plan is to leave New York and stay with George’s obnoxious brother and his family in Atlanta. George can work for his brother at a porta potty business while he searches for work.
On the way there, they pull over down a dirt road to rest thinking they are going to a bed and breakfast called Elysium. A naked man walks out of the woods causing them to be in shock and lose control of their car. The car overturns and they realize they are now stuck with this perfectly nice nudist. The nudist leads them up to the grounds of Elysium which is more of a hippie commune over a cozy bed and breakfast. It is comprised of a tribe of people and animals that have given their lives over to a far more peaceful, spiritual, and relaxing state of mind. The herbal aromas are thick in the air, mantras are being spoken, guitars are being played, and the pot is freely being passed around. George lets loose and opens up to this new lifestyle. Linda seems lost without her blackberry and triple latte. They decide to stay for two weeks to be free spirits away from the hustle and bustle of a big city.
Wanderlust is a very funny movie. The sense of humor, however, is a very specific style that is definitely not made for all audiences and age ranges. It can be very crass, vulgar, and obnoxious at times. It also has a satirically bite to it. Some of the jokes and moments come out of sheer awkward moments that are funny because they are embedded in truth. Other jokes come from the world of bathroom humor. The script was written by Wain and Marino who frequently collaborate together (Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models). It provides an interesting commentary on the hippie/free-spirit lifestyle. Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston lead a great ensemble of actors including: Justin Theroux, Alan Alda, Malin Akerman, Lauren Ambrose, Kathryn Hahn, and Michaela Watkins. I think Paul Rudd is one of the best comedic actors working today. He knows how to be funny without always being over the top. So many “comedy” actors play the same shtick over and over and become caricatures of themselves which gets old far too quickly. Rudd knows that the comedy will come out of being honest in the moment with that specific scene. He knows when to be over-the-top and knows when to play it seriously. Plus, he’s completely charming and adorable.
RATING: **** (4 out of 5 stars)