Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wanderlust (2012)

This film opens with a scene that features Linda Lavin as a real estate agent. This made me smile, because I don't think I've seen Linda Lavin in anything since the show Alice ended in 1985. Her appearance is the best thing about this movie, and it's brief and its only purpose is to set up what follows. What follows are poorly written scenes with badly timed comedic situations and this goes on for over 90 minutes. 

George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) are a married couple from New York. They have just purchased a loft in the city and the next day they each lose their job (it's slightly more complicated for the sake of yucks, but I will spare you the details for the sake of sanity). They decide that their only option is to sell the loft and move in with George's brother in Georgia. George's brother is a jerk and his wife is a ticking time bomb. The time spent there is short lived and George and Linda decide to hit the road. 

Apparently this is the "wanderlust" that the title suggests, but there really isn't much wandering at all in the film. They drive all day and never leave Georgia before they finally happen upon a hippie commune in the middle of nowhere. They find this place when a nude man appears in their headlights. At first they are terrified and desperately try to reverse the car only to flip it upside down. Left with no other options, they must let the naked man offer his assistance. While this new setup may sound humorous, the description is better without the visuals and forced comedy from some usually competent actors. The naked man (Joe Lo Truglio) takes the couple back to the rest of the commune. Dumb jokes abound about how out of touch the hippies are how hippieish they are. The funniest scene involves Jennifer Aniston's character taking the hallucinogenic drug Ayahuaska. But even this just made me laugh with a single "Heh" sound. If she had actually succeeded at trying to fly the movie may have ended there. Instead we get the usual plot development where the evil people in suits want to take the land away from the peaceful hippies and a battle ensues. The whole thing is yawn inducing. Some incredible actors and comedians are completely wasted. Alan Alda plays the aging founder of the commune and gets very few laughs. This is very sad considering his Hawkeye character on M*A*S*H is one of the greatest television characters ever. Wanderlust also features several cast members of the classic MTV sketch comedy show The State. Most of them were also on the show Reno 911 and that material, while repetitive at times, was light years ahead of the stuff in Wanderlust

I don't know what anyone was the thinking during the writing process of this film. I don't understand how it got made. I don't understand how it got released. And anyone who enjoyed this movie- I don't know how they live with themselves. Wanderlust only made back like 2/3 of its budget at the box office, so maybe there aren't many of these people around anyway. Thank goodness for humanity. 

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