Wanderlust is a new comedy from the minds of David Wain and Ken Marino, alums of MTV’s The State and the cult classic, Wet Hot American Summer. The film stars Paul Rudd as George and Jennifer Aniston as Linda, a New York couple who find themselves forced to move to Atlanta due to a lack of income. In doing so, they stumble across Elysium, a hippie commune, and decide to stay there awhile to see if that style of living is something they could get used to, hijinks ensue.
David Wain directs the film from a screenplay that he and Ken Marino wrote. Wain has directed comedies such as Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten, and Role Models. He also has written and directed for numerous TV shows like The State, Stella, Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital and his web series, Wainy Days. Ken Marino has starred and/or written for many of the same shows that Wain has worked on and has a successful career as an actor on other works such as Party Down, Veronica Mars, Reaper and Dawson’s Creek.
I’m a huge fan of Wain and Marino, as well as any of the other fine comedic talents that have come from Wet Hot American Summer, one of my favorite comedies of all time. Going into Wanderlust, I wasn’t sure if we were going to get something in the vein of Wet Hot or something more in line with Wain’s previous film, Role Models. While I did enjoy Role Models, it doesn’t exactly fit into the same category of humor that I associate with Wain and company. It’s a lot more broad of a comedy whereas their trademark humor is a little more specific and seemingly very silly and random. I don’t mean that to sound like their comedy is inconsequential, in actuality, I think what they produce is some of the smartest comedy out there today. I’m very happy to say that their brand of humor is all over Wanderlust. In fact, the trailer for the film really doesn’t show much of the humor you’ll be getting in the film and sells it more broadly than it is. I get why the trailer is cut that way, broad comedy sells better. I’m actually kind of glad the trailer doesn’t spoil 99% of the jokes as there are tons of things to laugh at in the film.
The movie starts off well and begins laying down the jokes almost immediately. George and Linda are working with a realtor to buy a place for themselves and the interaction they have with the realtor is pretty funny. There is also a pretty hilarious sequence in which George and Linda are driving to Atlanta and you see them going through the various motions one may go through while on a long drive. Wanderlust really hits its stride once it reaches Elysium, the commune, and the laughs literally never stop from there.
The movie is full of really awesome comedic actors that all bring their top game to the proceedings. Paul Rudd is really good and his scene in front of a mirror psyching himself out to have sex is hilarious. Joe Lo Truglio, a comedic gem, plays Wayne the nudist and is the first of the hippies that they encounter that likes to make wine (while nude) and is an aspiring novelist. Kerri Kenney (Deputy Trudy Weigel from Reno 911) brings quite a few laughs as does many of the other supporting cast such as Malin Ackerman, Kathryn Hahn, Lauren Ambrose and Jordan Peele. Peele has one of the best jokes in the movie involving his character borrowing George’s car, which I won’t give away. Justin Theroux, who plays the commune’s leader Seth, really stands out for his amazing delivery of all the lines he has as does Alan Alda in fact. I also really enjoyed the scenes involving Ken Marino, who play’s George’s brother, and Michaela Watkins as a highly dysfunctional married couple. For fans of Stella, you are in for a treat when Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black and David Wain appear in the movie, it may be just be a bit, but its pretty hilarious and yes, they are in suits.
I refuse to give away any of the jokes as I think it’s best to just go in fresh but I will say this, Wanderlust is, in my opinion, the best comedy that has been released in the past 10 years. Wedding Crashers is quite memorable and I thought Extract was pretty hilarious and there are no doubt some movies I’m not mentioning that have been really funny in that time. It’s just that I have not laughed so much and so consistently at a movie like I did with Wanderlust since I saw Wet Hot American Summer (2001). I understand that not everyone has the same sense of humor and one joke could make someone laugh so hard they cry equally as much as bore another but if you like any of the movies or TV shows I’ve mentioned in this review, I’d say that it’s a pretty safe bet that this movie will make you laugh. Even to those who aren’t familiar with David Wain and company, I enthusiastically recommend going to the theater to see it. We need to support great work at the theater and Wanderlust is just that.