“Wanderlust” is more than the goofy romantic comedy trailers make it out to be. The film portrays George (Paul Rudd, “Dinner for the Schmucks”) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston, “Just Go With It”), a married couple, ready to move on to the next phase of their lives where they want to be.
They want to be living in a nice apartment in Manhattan. They purchase a “microapartment” out of their price range because George anticipates a promotion, and Linda expects HBO to pick up her documentary about penguins with testicular cancer.
As expected in romantic comedies, neither happens, so they sell their home – losing money – and drive to George’s brother’s home in Georgia. On the way, they stop at a commune for an unforgettable, drug-induced night.
When they leave the commune, George can’t stop thinking about it and begs Linda to return with him. They decide to stay for a two-week trial before moving in permanently, thus, most of the movie’s 98 minutes take place at the commune.
Although the trailer portrays the movie as just another comedy, the flick holds deeper meaning. It explores human emotion, showing people go through the motions of life without taking time to appreciate it. George took a job he hated to support Linda as she tried to search for a job that would give her meaning, and Linda never committed to anything in her life. They both realize the resentment they have had for each other – George for whining about his job, Linda for never committing to anything. This becomes divisive to the point where the two split ways.
Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston’s acting is superb. They had enough on-screen chemistry to make the audience root for them to reunite. Rudd basically made the movie with just one scene. The commune believes in free love, and to gain full acceptance, George realizes he needs to make love. In this scene, George pumps himself up before approaching Eva (Malin Akerman, “The Proposal”).
However, the movie also has its drawbacks. Though set in a hippie commune, it might have taken the mocking to an extreme, where nearly every scene featured full nudity of either sex or some kind of hallucinogen. A large part of the humor relies on the awkward situations resulting from the nudity or the strange things the hippies do while on drugs, instead of more subtle, sophisticated humor.
Still, it is a unique romantic comedy. It touches on not just love, but purpose, self-fulfillment and belonging. And instead of just ending with the cliche chick flick ending, the movie explores the journey it takes to find oneself.
By Avantika Khatri