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A movie directed by David Wain

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Not as fun as a hippie commune might entail.

  • Aug 17, 2012
** out of ****

David Wain simply does not have anything interesting (or even moderately original) to say in "Wanderlust". A Judd Apatow-produced comedy about a couple that encounters a hippie commune after they face financial and professional implications and must sell their brand new apartment; Wain's main point seems to be to make fun of the sheer freak show oddity of hippies and their culture. Indeed, this is something prevalent in our society; we mock, and sometimes even worship, the ways of such people. But wouldn't it have been more interesting to explore their motivation and even deeper parts of the culture itself, and still for the sake of relatable human comedy? The answer is yes, it would have been quite interesting indeed, but Wain doesn't seem to care much. Once his movie sets off, it moves at a relatively fast pace with no intention of slowing down.

The couple that finds themselves thrust into this peculiar plot are George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston). They're a typical American couple - nice, respectable, decent, probably still in the beginning stages of settling down - that buys the apartment, which is in New York, and barely get to know it when George is fired from his job out of nowhere and Linda's documentary film for HBO doesn't sit well with the producers. Conversations with the woman selling the apartment that they now must sell themselves are funny (the woman is married to an apparently very passionate blind man); those with George's douchebag brother Rick (Ken Marino) are not. Whatsoever.

Nevertheless, Rick's home is shelter for the two. On their way to Georgia (where Rick and his family lives), they stop at the commune for the first time and are treated with much hospitality. The first person they meet is the nudist oenophile (and soon-to-be writer) Wayne (Joe Lo Truglio). They are then introduced to the prime members of the gang, which is too large to list in its entirety: Seth (Justin Theroux), Eva (Malin Akerman), and the aging owner Carvin (Alan Alda, absolutely hysterical in the role). After a night of weed and warmth, the pair hits the road yet again and stays at Rick's place for a little while, but after discovering that their ideal life style is much different from his, they leave and head back to the commune.

I enjoyed spending time with the hippies for about the first hour or so. The most important members of the community are colorfully drawn out if not improperly characterized. They are clichés or caricatures rather than memorable, well-fleshed-out human beings. Nevertheless, it's a diverse cast of hippies we've got here. Aside from the ones I've already listed, you've got the likes of Lauren Ambrose and Kathryn Hahn on board and they supply quirky characters (again...if you could call them those). And even Ray Liotta makes a cameo at the end of the feature; so obviously you've got an impressive cast here.

But Wain and company fail to do anything interesting with its members. "Wanderlust" is a one-note comedy; it lacks ambition and it lacks a steady balance of humor and humanity. I'll admit that there are a handful of laughs - Wayne is a great and colorful little character and the drug-induced hallucinatory scenes are amusing - but there's no denying that more were attempted than were actually had. The problem is that (1.) the script just isn't very good being predictable and unstable and all and (2.) it tries too hard. It's kind of a vulgar comedy and those tend to go either way; "Wanderlust" comes very close on the border between evocation and potential offense. Me, I was not offended at all - even by the graphic nudity and sex humor present - but I just didn't find myself laughing by that material in particular. As I stipulated earlier, Wain's point is to mock the post-modern hippie culture; and a lot of the film's best laughs come from that alone. But, you know, for a movie that looked so promising; I expected something a little groovier than this drivel.

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         By Joan Alperin Schwartz      Things aren't going well for married couple Linda (Jennifer Aniston) and George (Paul Rudd)      HBO has rejected Linda's documentary on Penquins suffering from testicular cancer. They felt it wasn't sexy or violent enough...And...George's company has just been raided by the FBI. Oh...he's also been fired.      To make matter worse, Linda …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Director: David Wain
Screen Writer: David Wain, Ken Marino

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