Wanderlust see’s ‘F.R.I.E.N.D’ Jennifer Aniston and boyfriend of a ‘F.R.I.E.N.D’ Paul Rudd play a married couple failing to cut it in the competitive rat race of New York City. Forced to leave their teeny-tiny micro apartment when George loses his job, the stressed out couple head for Atlanta to stay with George’s obnoxious and annoyingly successful brother, Rick. It is on the way to Atlanta that the couple discover Elysium, an idyllic community preaching peace, meditation and free love. After a memorable night in the hippy commune, George and Linda are enchanted by Elysium and its eccentric’s residents.
The newly refreshed couple then continue their journey to Atlanta where George is back to the grind working for his loathsome brother while Linda is forced to daytime drinking – and lots of it by the ramblings of Rick’s long suffering, mentally unstable wife. Realising that both he and his wife are unhappy, the usually passive George takes a stand during one of his brothers ‘lectures’ and he and Linda leave civilisation and head back to the safety and tranquillity of Elysium and become fully fledged members of the commune.
As the film drifts into its second act the plot seems to lose its focus. The key driving force is the obvious and expected – someone wants to close down Elysium. This plot only serves to allow our leading characters to transform from career-minded capitalists into free loving anti-consumerists. The characters in the film, perhaps with the exception of George and Linda, are all stock and provide very little apart from a few chuckles. The antagonist of the film is the backstabbing Seth played by Justin Theroux. He has his moments of comedy and is a key component in developing George and Linda’s relationship and respective spiritual journeys, yet he is not a believable character, neither is Wayne the nudist, played by Joe Lo Truglio.
The film has moments of laughter and Rudd and Aniston have genuine chemistry together and play their respective parts with great spirit and good form. It does leave you wondering, however, what this film would be like if it hadn’t attracted Rudd and Aniston.
Best performance: Paul Rudd as George.
Best scene: George’s equally uncomfortable as it is hilarious pre-free love prep talk in the mirror.
Best line: (When a hallucinating Linda believes she can fly…) George: ‘If you’re going to get literal with an R Kelly song, do it with trapped in the closet’
Watch this if you liked: Role Models, The Object of My Affection, Horrible Bosses.