Wanderlust

Wanderlust

2012, R, 98 min. Directed by David Wain. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman, Alan Alda, Kathryn Hahn, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Lauren Ambrose, Jordan Peele.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., March 2, 2012

Jennifer Aniston doesn't get enough credit. It's not that she's any great shakes as a performer – she’s not a shape-shifter, there's a certain sameness to all Aniston’s screen personas – but in her selection of projects, she's chosen to burrow into interesting pockets of the modern female experience. Think of the unwed mother who falls in love with her gay best friend in The Object of My Affection; the broke, still-single stoner and odd-man-out in Friends With Money; the adult who tries and fails at cohabitation with a man-child in The Break-Up, a raw relationship drama dressed up as a romantic comedy; or the professional woman, angsting for a baby, who opts for artificial insemination in The Switch. Sure, the films were sometimes flawed, but they were welcome alternatives to the standard Hollywood cookie-cutter plots about losing a man in 10 days or trudging down the aisle 27 times in bridesmaid taffeta.

Wanderlust is flawed, too, but for its exploration of financial ruin and alternative lifestyles, it shows once again that Aniston, at the very least, knows which way the wind is blowing. That isn't meant to give too much heft to a fairly silly and overly episodic comedy about a Manhattan couple, Linda (Aniston) and George (Rudd), whose careers dead-end on the same day. Unable to pay their mortgage or find new work, they leave the big city and stumble quite by accident into a commune in Georgia, led by a beatific ladies’ man (Justin Theroux in Jesus hair, and killing it). You can already guess the comedy culled from the set-up – nudism, drug freak-outs, the hypocrisies of the self-righteous, and free love antics. But these are professionals – the cast and crew cut their teeth on The State, Childrens Hospital, Friends, MADtv, and a host of other comedy projects – and they know how to work a joke, even when the punchline is foregone.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More David Wain Films
Role Models
In this comedy, two cranky men, played by Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, are forced by court order to take part in a child-mentoring program.

Josh Rosenblatt, Nov. 7, 2008

The Ten
Quirky comedy sketches illustrate each of the Ten Commandments.

Steve Davis, Aug. 17, 2007

More by Kimberley Jones
We Have an Issue: Giving Thanks
We Have an Issue: Giving Thanks
In this week’s issue, we celebrate 20 in 2020 working to make Austin a better, more equitable, more compassionate place

Nov. 27, 2020

Skip Big Box Shopping and Spend Your Black Friday Dollars Locally Instead
Skip Big Box Shopping and Spend Your Black Friday Dollars Locally Instead
Austin businesses need your support more than ever

Nov. 24, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Wanderlust, David Wain, Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman, Alan Alda, Kathryn Hahn, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Lauren Ambrose, Jordan Peele

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle