Alan Alda, blog, comedy, commune, David Wain, entertainment, Film, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica St. Clair, Joe Lo Truglio, Jordan Peele, Justin Theroux, Kathryn Hahn, Ken Marino, Kerri Kenney, Lauren Ambrose, Linda Lavin, Malin Akerman, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Michaela Watkins, movies, Paul Rudd, rants, Ray Liotta, review, thoughts, Todd Barry, Wanderlust
There are certain Actors, that while are known for their own comedic nature, will try their hand at directing. Of which I couldn’t fully appreciate said humor otherwise, believing them to have a fine eye for making great films. Okay, so clearly I’m referring to David Wain. Most may know him for his work with Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter as Stella. But he’s fared better at surrounding his surrealistic scripts with several underrated Actors better than anything else I’ve seen from him. This film has several familiar faces for anyone who was an avid watched of Reno 9-1-1 as well as The State, which marked the beginning of the majority of relationships here. Carrying over for a few in the making of the 2001 film Wet Hot American Summer, also written and directed by Wain.
In preparation of the script, both writers took the approach of locking themselves in a room for a week until churning out the first draft. Wanting to explore human nature versus reality and the possibility of being open to things otherwise thought wouldn’t, until put into the situation. Having a majority of the film’s people jump on board before setting up for the 6 week long production. Getting rather lucky in finding a 10 bedroom house with a lake and vast amount of room available for their depiction of Elysium. A commune, though don’t catch any of the members under the house hearing you say that! Believing that term to be nothing more than describing a bunch of hippies who sit around, playing guitar and smoking reefer. Choosing to live, not by means but free limitations and clothing mostly optional. Sounds like a bunch of hippies to me.
The Good: What I loved most about the film was the random array of cast members that we hardly get to see within the genre. The level of comfort Jennifer Aniston (Linda) and Paul Rudd (George) have off a 15 year relationship gave them full ability in allowing both to shine. I know she’s been trying her hand at a bit more raunchy comedies lately though the image doesn’t always work for myself. In here she looked “luminous” and was naturally comedic due to playing off of Rudd so well. Seth (Justin Theroux) being the fearless leader whose knowledge of technological advances were almost two decades behind him. But besides being gorgeous with the long air and beard, is such a funny person that doesn’t nearly get enough play in films. So it was nice to see him thoroughly and as a main character in here. The entire reason for George and Linda finding solace at Elysium being that his jerk of a brother, Rick (Ken Marino) became too unbearable to live with after offering his home to his now jobless sibling. Something wife Marissa (Michaela Watkins) knew all too well, enduring his ruthless and unnecessary attitude along with endless amount of “justified” cheating. Her under the breath comments being another thing I consistently loved through the film in that she knew she was extremely unhappy. But simply put up with the antics, using the fuel to audition for the Real Housewives of Atlanta as a means to make up for her not so wonderful life.
The group being as follows: Founder of the “intentionally community,” Carvin (Alan Alda) was great to watch with his faulty memory and need to escape, though wholeheartedly believed in the groups message; for the most part. The gorgeous and hilarious Eva (Malin Akerman) whose free spirited energy eventually proved too much for George, upon suggesting they have sex, finding him to be a rahter interesting character. Nudist winemaker turned best selling Author, Wayne (Joe Lo Truglio) whose book becomes in talks of being made into a film. With surprise guest Ray Liotta and hey, don’t care how old he is, didn’t mind catching a bare assed Ray at that; as random a cameo that it felt. Emotionally damaged Karen (Kathryn Hahn) who had some of the best one liners in the film (Such an overlooked Actress). Kathy (Kerri Kenney), who chose to see the humor in anything usually not having to do with such. With loving couple and expecting parents Almond (Lauren Ambrose) and Rodney (Jordan Peele) rounding out the majority of members. The couple’s interactions being a great pairing as Ambrose’s birthing scene was one of those things you didn’t need to see yet couldn’t help but look at. The voice change was a nice touch as she acted as though it was simply another beautiful aspect to the process. All the while Ken Marino was underneath her, handing the baby as it was delivered.
The Bad: While there wasn’t too much I found disappointing about this film, I will say that the marketing would probably be somewhere up there. The cover, for some reason, or the fact that Jennifer Aniston stars put off a different impression of the film’s contents. Because it is not a Rom-Com. It’s just simply a very funny film throughout, wasting no time in getting into the plot and maintaining that consistency until the bloopers at the end credits. There was however, a moment when Justin Theroux plays guitar that looked a little weird to me. Hard to explain unless you see it. Come to find out that several methods were used in order to maintain that image as Theroux cannot actually play. But it’s nothing that deters from the movie itself, just my own weirdness. As well that as funny as I do find Rudd, his improvisations during a pep talk in the mirror lasted a bit longer than I thought should have. To where it just became a bit awkward but I’m sure that would be on a case to case basis.
The Verdict: Don’t let the bright colors and fact that you may have not heard anything about the film push you away. There are a lot of great moments and quips that surprised myself while viewing. As well a lot of great special features and special showing of the film on the Blu-ray edition if truly interested. Overall, something worth watching at least once. Which is more than a lot of other questionable comedies can offer.