August 24, 2013


David Wain, 2012

George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) get over their head in expenses after purchasing an apartment in New York City. After George loses his job, and Linda's documentary gets turned down by HBO they decide to get out of the city. They venture down to stay with George's brother in Georgia. On the way down they decide to stop at a bed and breakfast which turns out to be a hippie commune. The freedom and positive energy that is connected to the lifestyle becomes attractive to them and they contemplate staying.

This comedy by Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models) blends some social commentary with some slapstick elements. Because the film jumps head first into the story the characters feel like caricatures. Once things get moving that fades away and the film really maintains a steady pace using solid characters. It effectively uses a lot of the same actors as Wet Hot but provides them with much better writing. The picture itself at times feels like a much more grown up version of Wet Hot. It examines the communal lifestyle, which of course in real life has proved to be a failed experiment over and over again. The human emotional spectrum always precedes the ideals of an attempted Utopian community, and no matter how many good vibes you try to spread - there's still going to be conflicts that are unavoidable (jealousy, deception, greed). Wain examines a lot of these through comedy, and very effectively at that. Nudism, Free love, Organic farming, New age pregnancy techniques, Primal screaming, hallucinogenics. Some really stand-out performances in the picture. Paul Rudd, who is always consistent, is particularly good in this. His brother, Rick (Ken Marino), is perfect as the douchey brother who surrounds himself with materialism to peacock his success. His character comes off as very Apatowian, reminiscent of Bradley Cooper's character Sack Lodge in Wedding Crashers. Some of the scenes felt like you were watching a good improv group at work (ie. the truth circle, or Paul Rudd talking into the mirror). It will be interesting to see what Wain does in the future. Some of his past work felt loosey-goosey, but he had some solid writing here to work with. Hopefully he keeps the same people on board for future work.

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