PLOT: Having recently lost their New York home, George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston)- broke, and utterly without hope, stumble upon a hippie commune. The laid-back, stress-free lifestyle appeals to the broke couple, and they become part of the community. But will these two uptight yuppies be able groove with the laid-back vibe of the commune, which includes generous helpings of free love and peyote (damn- sign me up!)?
REVIEW: WANDERLUST is a comfortable movie, made for your quintessential, upwardly mobile yuppie audience. Together, Aniston and Rudd make an attractive, likable couple that's easy to root for, and heck, who wouldn't want to escape to a zany commune complete with lots of casual sex, light drug use, and general zaniness? Well, for awhile anyway.
And really, that seems to be exactly the message that WANDERLUST is going for. It's like LOCAL HERO in reverse, where our leads, through their experiences at the commune, learn to be MORE materialistic, and MORE selfish. It's an oddly conservative film, despite it's R-rating, and raunchiness, but then again, it's not trying to be anything else.
While I'm not so sure about the message- as a ninety minute comedy, WANDERLUST is pretty successful, as there are enough real belly laughs here to make this one of the funnier mainstream films to come out since HORRIBLE BOSSES (making this two funny, raunchy comedies in a row for Aniston). The fact that it's funny shouldn't be a huge surprise, as it's directed by David Wain- who previously directed Paul Rudd in the pretty damn solid ROLE MODELS. Wain brings along a lot of his cronies from THE STATE, including co-writer Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio (who spends the ENTIRE film nude), and more on board, and fans of that, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, and the great WET, HOT AMERICAN SUMMER will spot lots of familiar favourites in the cast.
While it's not quite as good as ROLE MODELS, when WANDERLUST is funny, it's damn funny. Of the star pair, WANDERLUST is probably more Rudd's film, and his interactions with his fellow commune dwellers are frequently hilarious. Justin Theroux is great as the marginal antagonist, who's the commune's alpha male, with designs on Aniston. Hawkeye Pierce himself, the great Alan Alda, shows up as the commune's possibly senile founder, and Katherine Hahn steals more than a few scenes in a role that's nearly identical to the one she played in Rudd's last hippie comedy, OUR IDIOT BROTHER.
As for Aniston, she's truly hit or miss for me. At her worst, as in THE BOUNTY HUNTER, I can't stand her, but then again, she can also be very effective, as she was on |FRIENDS, and in THE GOOD GIRL, and HORRIBLE BOSSES, and is again here. It's worth noting that her chemistry with Rudd (the two also co-starred in THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION, and Rudd did an arc as Phoebe's eventual husband on the last season of FRIENDS) is spot on, and she has a great Acid-trip sequence, complete with hilarious psych-out effects that seemingly spoof Roger Corman-style sixties drug films like THE TRIP.
Meanwhile, Malin Ackerman once again shows her flair for comedy as the commune's resident sexpot who's more than willing to introduce Rudd to the concept of free-love- with him being too much of a doofus to take her up on it. Lauren Ambrose, of the late, great SIX FEET UNDER also has a funny part as a pregnant commune dweller, and Ambrose looks better than ever- being absolutely luminous in the role. She was always cute but, wow- now she's HOT!
Of course, WANDERLUST does go on a bit too long, with the one joke premise being stretched mighty thin by the time ninety minutes are up. In particular, some of Rudd's ad libs, which are funny enough, really should have been outtakes on the eventual DVD/ Blu-ray rather than in the film itself. Still, WANDERLUST is a funny flick, boasting a pleasant, likable cast, and more than a few honest belly laughs. If you like Rudd, Aniston, and the gang from THE STATE this is an easy sell.
|Extra Tidbit:||A friend of mine said this is like the funny version of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE.|