Friday, June 29, 2012

At the Movies - Wanderlust

I was excited about Wanderlust.  Mostly because it starred Paul Rudd.  But also because it was a comedy about a yuppie couple (the other half of which is played by Jennifer Aniston) escaping the New York City rat race to start fresh on a Georgia commune.  I mean, what wouldn't be hilarious about that?

As it turned out, plenty.

Now, I realize it's a little early in the review for the snark snake to be rearing its ugly head.  And I hate to be that girl.  But I also hate to be dishonest.  So, that girl it is.

George (Paul Rudd) works in an office doing something boring.  Linda (Jennifer Aniston) bounces from jewelry making to ice cream making to making a documentary about penguins with testicular cancer.  Linda wants them to buy an apartment (er, micro-loft), so they do.  But then George gets laid off and they're forced to sell and move in with George's obnoxious brother and his family in Atlanta.  During the drive down, car trouble delivers them to the doorstep of Elysium, a utopian oasis in a gadget-crazy, dog-eat-dog world.  They spend an enchanted night there, an experience that renders life at George's brother's mansion the next day as even more abrasive.  George picks a fight and breaks a dish and before they know it, he and Linda are speeding back toward the serenity of the commune.

Only, Linda's not feeling it.  Weirded out by Elysium's doorless rooms, touchy-feely psychobabble, and unrelieved togetherness, she balks when George suggests they stay for two weeks.  Yet almost immediately the two do a switcheroo, with Linda embracing the alternative lifestyle and George longing for the square society they left behind (which makes perfect comedic sense, as Paul Rudd always plays the lone straight man swirling in a sea of chaos).  Nowhere is their disconnect as apparent as when George strums the Spin Doctors' "Two Princes" on a guitar only to be one-upped by his wife's soon-to-be paramour (Justin Theroux).  Weirdly, this is the movie's high point for me.  Not the part about Paul Rudd being dissed; I didn't like that at all.  But my favorite actor singing my favorite song?  That was downright, dare I say it, princely.

As for the rest of the movie, I couldn't help but feel that it needed to be either funnier in an over-the-top, can-you-believe-this? sort of way or more serious in a poignant, indie film, damn-that-really-made-me-think kind of way.  I think that's about as bitchy as I'm going to get.  Now that that's over with, I'll return to my happy place where Paul Rudd is still singing.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Tracy, you really should be getting paid to write these reviews of yours! They are so well done, and I absolutely love them!!