Just go with it

Rudd and Aniston move from the city to the commune

Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated R.
Rated 3.0

New York City might be exciting if you’re making it, but if you’re struggling to make ends meet, the City That Never Sleeps just makes you tired. Wanderlust‘s lead couple, George and Linda (Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston), learn this the hard way after finding themselves out of work and having to sell the luxury closet in which they were living (and which they were barely affording anyway).

Forced to mooch off George’s douchey but rich brother, the two reluctantly pack for the trip to his home in Atlanta, making a pit stop at Elysium Bed and Breakfast along the way. The scenic B&B turns out to actually be a hippie commune, where free love, guitar medleys and armpit hair rule the land. Realizing that signing on to this alternative lifestyle might be their best option—and maybe exactly what they need to de-stress—George and Linda give Elysium a trial run.

Watching city slickers adjust to a rural, spiritual environment naturally creates plenty of opportunity for humor. Rudd’s charming neurotic style is a perfect comic contrast to the laid-back bohemians with whom he finds himself surrounded. The eclectic ensemble keeps things pleasantly strange, with Alan Alda playing the loopy co-founder of Elysium, Malin Akerman as the staunch advocate for free love, and Justin Theroux as some weird hybrid of a hippie and Jesus. The film might rely heavily on old stereotypes of counter culture, but as someone who’s recently been living in Santa Cruz, I can vouch that the depictions still ring true.

The plot loses focus often, and it comes across like a bunch of fun individual scenes stuck together rather than an organized story. And it’s hard to determine the lead characters’ motivations half-way through the film, but that might be because they’re super high on peyote. (Maybe the environment is wearing off on the film a little too much.) But the film isn’t trying to take itself too seriously. It’s two hours of fun fluff, and that’s all it needs to be. So, just go with it, man.