By Jane Kelley, Muse Staff Writer
David Wain’s new movie, Wanderlust, follows George (Paul Rudd) and Linda, (Jennifer Aniston) a newly married couple who, upon finding themselves suddenly unable to pay for their shoebox apartment in New York City, decide to move to a hippie community called Elysium. The couple must adjust to life in Elysium, where free love and psychedelic drug use takes them on a sidesplitting journey to where they truly belong.
Reminiscent of the absurdist humor of his earlier film, Wet Hot American Summer, also featuring Paul Rudd and many other members of the Wanderlust cast, director David Wain’s script leaves little time to breathe between laughs. The sheer stupidity of the series of plot events creates an epic sense of hilarity that is unparalleled by comedies recently released.
There is, however, a noticeable split in the humor. While quick-witted and zany one-liners drive the movie forward, extremely raunchy and some downright disgusting physical gags pepper the film. A vile example of this comes when a woman gives birth standing up on a porch and her newborn infant stays attached to the placenta for far too long. While these parts would be distasteful on their own, because the wonderfully absurdist nature of film makes one not really mind the truly gross elements.
While the acting styles of Rudd and Anniston are delightful, a few characters, by no fault of their own, it would seem, did become a bit annoying by the end of the film. Seth (Justin Theroux), the alpha male hippie of Elysium, and Rick (Ken Marino), Rudd’s macho brother, transcended the fine line of absurdist humor and into the realm of the needlessly irritating. Theroux’s character annoyingly calls Rudd “brother” more times than anyone has ever even uttered the word. Marino’s characterization of a sleazy husband resembled that of a bulldog foaming at the mouth, attempting to attract women.
While Theroux and Marino’s characters proved to be slightly less than amiable, Marissa, (Michaela Watkins) the neglected and perpetually drunken matron of Marino’s dysfunctional family, had some of the greatest moments in the entire film. Despite the pop-culture Real Housewives of Atlanta feel that her character brought to the camera, audiences couldn’t help but cheer Watkins on as she pointed out the ironic absurdities of her own daily life in contrast with the American Dream that she undoubtedly wanted to be living.
Undoubtedly a stoner cult classic for the record books, Wanderlust is a hilarious journey that answers one couple’s longing to know just where they belong. If you can cover your eyes during the birth scene, it’s definitely worth a trip to the movies this weekend.