Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd play a big-city couple forced to downsize when he loses his job and her documentary is rejected by HBO. Forced to sell their apartment and faced with the prospect of working with his idiot brother, the pair go adopt a hippie lifestyle and move into a free love commune.
Richard: Mark, Wanderlust is something we haven’t seen for a while — a Jennifer Aniston movie that doesn’t stink. In fact, it’s really good. Great supporting cast, loads of laughs and a great hallucination scene. The only thing that stinks is the hippie hygiene. What did you think?
Mark: Ah, but most Paul Rudd movies are pretty good. He has a great track record of choosing good scripts, and Aniston had the good sense to attach herself to it. This is really one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time. I started laughing at the opening scene in the realtor’s office and didn’t stop for 90 minutes. It’s smart, well-cast, timely, and I can’t find any flaws. If you liked writer/director David Wain’s offbeat, loopy work in The State or Wet Hot American Summer, you’re going to love this picture.
RC: Agreed. I haven’t laughed like that in a movie since Bridesmaids last year. Rudd dies a mirror pep talk scene that is raunchy, funny and kind of surreal. Speaking of surreal, the hallucination sequence is trippy and hilarious. I’ve seen loads of drug scenes in movies but this one made me feel high … with laughter.
MB: The film feels like Martha Marcy May Marlene reimagined as a comedy with, yes, a Bridesmaids spirit. It’s been a long while since we’ve seen a hippie commune satire, and it’s long overdue. So much to like here — Alan Alda’s acid-head paterfamilias, Malin Ackermann’s love goddess, the nudist writer/winemaker, the boorish brother, his neglected trophy wife, and Justin Theroux as the cult leader lost in the ’90s.
RC: I think the reason the movie works so well, aside from the very funny script, is that each of the characters you mentioned could have been the focus of the story and it still would have been a good movie. There isn’t a character in the movie that feels extraneous. Also, I loved the uber hippie jokes. Where else would you find a placenta as soup stock joke?
MB: Saturday Night Live had a ‘placenta helper’ mock commercial some time ago that was heavily censored. But you’re right – the movie gets the details right. It’s an ayahuasca ceremony that they take part in, peyote being so … 2003. And maybe that’s the thrill of finally seeing Ms. Aniston in a comedy that’s not only funny but original as well. She’s been performing for focus groups far too long. Wanderlust may be a Hollywood movie, but it has an indie sensibility.
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