In his latest, David Wain attempts to make a whole comedy about the dwindling lives of a middle-class couple living in a hippie-infested commune called Elysium. Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston play the leading couple, and share the screen with a talented supporting cast of comedic actors like Joe Lo Truglio (the naked one), Lauren Ambrose, Jordan Peele, and the awesome Alan Alda. Check out our full review below…
It’ll be wrong not to mention Martha Marcy May Marlene, the dark film that caused a whirlwind at Sundance last year with its topic of commune living; that said, Wanderlust, unlike Martha Marcy May Marlene, doesn’t challenge its audience with questions about existentialism as, after all, it is a comedy, complete with running gags and not-so-meaningful conversations.
- Director: David Wain
- Writer: David Wain, Ken Marino
- Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Malin Akerman, Justin Theroux,
- Cinematography: Michael Bonvillain
Linda (Jennifer Aniston) and George (Paul Rudd) are a young married couple living in Manhattan. After their lives come crumbling down, George decides to take his wife to his brother Rick’s (Ken Marino) house in Atlanta. During their road-trip, Linda and George pull into a bed and breakfast that turns out to be a commune run by a peculiar, mature hippie named Kathy (Karri Kenney) and a mysterious guru named Seth (Justin Theroux) . After spending a wild night at the commune, Linda and George resume their journey to Atlanta, but when their plan B also falls through, the two return to the commune and attempt to live as free spirits.
- An Uncomfortable, Yet Hilarious Pep Talk: The best part in the entire movie, hands down, is an R-rated pep talk George gives to himself in the bathroom mirror. It’s ridiculous, uncomfortable, and hilarious. So hilarious. The movie would be worth watching all over again if just for that moment. This is one of Rudd’s best moments.
- Supporting Cast: Elysium is filled with colorful personalities played by talented comedic actors. Kathryn Hahn shines as Karen, an annoyed feminist who gives George a very hard time when he accidentally kills a mosquito. Then there’s Ken Marino, who co-wrote the film with Wain. He plays George’s inappropriate brother, and scores big laughs. There’s also the paunchy, wine-making nudist Rick played by Joe Lo Truglio, and the pretentious, Christ-like commune leader Seth played by Jason Theroux. All of these different actors, and more, lend themselves to funny jokes, and each shines, even if just for a brief moment.
- Paul and Jen: Aside from the hilarious mirror scene, Rudd plays it straight. His character is the sane one in a movie filled with insane personalities. Rudd still has the charm that makes him a successful leading man. Aniston is also charming and likeable. One of her best moments is when she’s on hallucinogenics and believes she can fly. Still, she stays in her comfort zone, and that’s okay, because that’s what we expect from her. She’s not one to take many risks.
- Running Gags: The bad thing about the running gags in Wanderlust is that they weren’t funny to begin with. There’s nothing funny about calling a pint-size apartment ‘a studio’ or ‘a micro-loft’. Call it what you want! We can see that it’s tiny. Then there’s the ‘no privacy’ thing, which was funny at times, but mostly just made for uncomfortable and obvious situations.
- Pointless Plot: Although the story centers around an ordinary couple struggling to make ends meet, the film scarcely shows them trying to get back on their feet. Instead, George quits the job his brother offers him almost immediately, and the two escape to a free spirit environment with no doors and no privacy. George and Linda’s financial crisis is a segue to the plot of the story, which begins about 25 minutes into the movie when they arrive at Elysium. At the commune, George and Linda struggle to fit in, but in the end, their experiences make them appreciate a different way of living, and each other. But of course, no Hollywood comedy is complete without a happy ending. Everything works out for George and Linda, even when they weren’t even trying to get back on their feet.
There are moments that will make you laugh-out-loud, but overall, Wanderlust is one big, dumb joke.
Wanderlust opens February 24, 2012.
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Will you watch Wanderlust?