Wanderlust | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Are hippie communes still viable comic fodder in the year 2012?


After losing their jobs and their Manhattan "micro-loft," George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) retreat to the safety of kinfolk in suburban Atlanta. But a plot device finds them off the beaten path, trying out new personal discoveries at a free-love commune. There, everything unfolds as you'd expect: The off-the-grid kookiness makes them happy, then confused, before the stressed-out couple learn to split the difference.

This shaggy, intermittently vulgar R-rated comedy was directed by David Wain, and stars a number of recognizable actors: Alan Alda, as the commune's founder; Justin Theroux as its de facto leader; as well as Malin Akerman, Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) and Kerri Kenney (Reno 911). It might generate a smile or two — plus a few shrieks at the middle-aged nudity — but Wanderlust feels like a film that has sat on the shelf for a couple decades before getting the Apatow treatment (he produced). Not only is the premise hoary, but about 75 percent of the jokes are about hippies and hippie stuff — in the year 2012! Honestly, jokes about sharing encounters while pooping, "truth circles" and hallucinogenic trips lost their buzz more than 30 years ago, dude.

Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary
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Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary

By Mars Johnson