'Wanderlust' Review: Moldy Hippie Gags Populate Commune Comedy

What you make of the new comedy "Wanderlust" may depend on where you stand in the 50-year-long hippies-versus-straights continuum.

Those who were around for the 1960s will already be familiar with fun-loving flower children, in their trademark pot-and-patchouli haze, gently enlightening their clueless elders about the evils of the modern world.

(They will also recall the Manson Family, and the second thoughts it engendered about communal squalor and love-bead totalitarianism—the latter phenomenon memorably revisited in last year’s Martha Marcy May Marlene.) For geezers like these, the movie’s culture-clash humor may seem seriously dated, and pointless.

Those who missed the ’60s, however, or who were just being born in the ’70s, could—I’m guessing here—find fresh laughs in the picture’s vintage counterculture set-ups (especially if they discerned hilarity in director David Wain’s 2001 cult film, "Wet Hot American Summer"). To such viewers, I commend this movie.

The straights this time out are a suit-and-tie office drone named George (Wain veteran Paul Rudd) and his wife Linda (Jennifer Aniston), upward-strivers in cutthroat Manhattan. One day, George loses his job; and Linda—who has failed in such previous careers as children’s lit and the pottery biz—bombs out in her latest endeavor, documentary filmmaking. (The scene in which she unsuccessfully pitches HBO on a doc about penguins with testicular cancer is one of the funniest things in the movie.) Desperate to stay afloat, they decide to drive to Atlanta, where George’s mega-obnoxious brother Rick (Ken Marino) has offered him a job in the Porta-Potty trade.

Read the full review at Reason.com


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