Movie Review: Raucous ‘Wanderlust’ Is a Trip to ‘Hippie-Dippy Brigadoon’
Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd leave the big city behind to explore and embrace a more freewheeling lifestyle.
Is the descriptor “raucous” ever a good thing when it comes to movies? That's highly doubtful.
Yet, the makers of “Wanderlust” chose to label the movie a “raucous comedy” -- one that stars Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston as “a couple who leaves the pressures of the big city and joins a freewheeling community where the only rule is to be yourself.”
Rudd and Aniston are a stressed-out Manhattan couple on their way to Atlanta when they happen upon Elysium -- “an idyllic community populated by colorful characters who embrace a different way of looking at things” -- in other words, a hippie commune.
Robert Johnson of My San Antonio asked, “Hippies? Really? More than four decades after they flourished at Woodstock and the Summer of Love? Why not make a movie about downsized eight-track-tape salespeople while you’re at it?”
Lisa Schwarzbaum of EW.com described Elysium as a “hippie-dippy Brigadoon,” but gave the movie an “A-.” Schwarzbaum wrote, “It's a pleasure to see Aniston thrive in her comedy zone, secure in the knowledge that for every inch of propriety she's willing to cede, Paul Rudd is ready to get 10 times as crazy for a grateful nation.”
Not every critic was as amused or grateful.
“As is, ‘Wanderlust’ -- technically sound but undistinguished -- conjures bemused smiles early on, anyway, but too rarely delivers genuine laughs,” wrote Brian Lowry for the Chicago Tribune.
According to Lowry, the movie’s exploration of sociological questions “goes from tolerably silly to nearly unraveling” in the latter part of the movie.
Christy Lemire of the Associated Press explained that moviegoers' enjoyment of “Wanderlust” will likely depend upon their expectations heading into the movie.
“If you're looking for structure, cohesion and narrative drive, you'll be frustrated and maybe even a little bored,” she wrote. “If you can be as open-minded as the drugged-up denizens of Elysium, then it's all good, brother.”
Showtimes: Great Escape 14