George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) Gergenblatt have decided the time has come to buy their own place in New York City, so after visiting the estate agent they settle on what she calls a microloft and what George prefers to term studio apartment. It isn't very big, however, and their funds are being stretched, so when the documentary on penguins that Linda was making fails to find a buyer and George loses the banking job he had, it looks like they'll have to sell their home and downsize. Soon enough, unable to get their money back, they are headed to Atlanta and George's obnoxious brother (Ken Marino) - but along the way...
Ah, along the way the plot begins as the couple stumbles upon a commune of hippies who put them up in their bed and breakfast for the night. Initially perturbed by their back to nature ways, George and Linda start coming around to their way of thinking and find spending time there preferable to living with the brother, so the age old dream of giving up the rat race becomes the source of the aspirations, as well as the comedy. Once Aniston had got movies like Office Space and The Good Girl out of her system some time before, it seemed like she'd never appear in a cult movie again, preferring groaningly obvious romantic comedies instead.
There were signs that she thought she'd signed on for one of those in Wanderlust, or at least the production was anticipating her usual audience to join her in the jolly japes going on here, yet oddly they resisted and this was a box office disappointment, garnering the reputation as a laugh free bunch of lazy hippy stereotypes. However, after a while a few dissenting voices began to pipe up and point out this was actually very funny indeed, and those who had appreciated the sense of humour of director David Wain's other works, often made as part of a comedy team (his Stella cohorts Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black appeared with him in cameos), would likely find this very appealing.
You just had to get behind the idea that everyone in this was ridiculous, so there was no supporting Aniston's character as she faced up to her lifestyle choices and romantic issues, she was exactly as absurd as anyone else here - if anything, Rudd's George was the one who noticed that everything around him was growing more ludicrous as the plot went on, though that didn't stop him falling into that trap as well. Their main problem was that they all, hippies and conventional alike, had too much civilisation, and whether they embraced that or tried to reject it the fact remained that it was impossible to go back on it now. This contrast between the way George thinks things should be and the way they actually are was the source of the jokes.
Admittedly, many of those jokes were leaning on the obvious culture clash, so Joe Lo Truglio is a nudist at the commune which alarms George and Linda, and they all find clapping too aggressive, and their lack of a belief in property rights results in George's car ending up in a lake and so forth, but oddly there was a sympathy to the ribbing, as if to say hell, nobody knows how to make a success of life anymore anyway, so why not try veganism, guitar singalongs and free love? With a strong cast including Alan Alda as the founder who has lost the deed which makes for a tricky situation when local big business wants to build a casino on the land, Justin Theroux as the very hairy leader who of course turns out to be a selfish hypocrite, Malin Akerman as the girl who invites George to partake in the free love much to his discombobulation, and Lauren Ambrose who wants to give birth a bit too naturally, the laughs were consistent and well played, another comedy which fell through the cracks but delivered nonetheless. Music by Craig Wedren.