CATEGORIES Movie NewsAbout 30 minutes into "Wanderlust" -- director David Wain's new film starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston as a married couple who chuck New York City life to live in an "intentional community" -- you might get a nagging feeling in your gut. You've seen this before, somewhere. (And we're not talking about that peyote trip freshman year of college.)
To quote the film's main character, "Do you ever have that feeling where you can't tell if something's a memory or if it's something you dreamed?" "Wanderlust," like an insane fever dream, is essentially the bizarro version of director Sean Durkin's 2011 debut "Martha Marcy May Marlene."
OK, the movies are polar opposites, tonally. But the plot points? Kind of eerily spot-on similar. In fact, considering the somber subject matter (and gut-punch ending) employed in "Martha Marcy May Marlene," Moviefone recommends following up your viewing with the hilariously over-the-top "Wanderlust."
Lest you remain unconvinced, here are five ways these two films make a most improbable cinematic match:
1.) GUITAR SERENADE
The "zing" moment first comes when "Wanderlust's" Elysium commune leader Seth (Justin Theroux) bests newbie George (Rudd) in a guitar playing battle honoring George's wife Linda (Aniston). After George's paltry rendition of the Spin Doctors "Two Princes," Seth asks Linda to volunteer a subject, which turns out to be "wind." What follows is an over-the-top original improv piece that causes the women in the crowd to sigh (and George to seethe), with Seth crediting Linda as his inspiration. Remember the creepy, haunting rendition of "Marcy's Song" sung to Marcy (Elizabeth Olsen) by John Hawkes in "Martha Marcy May Marlene"? Perhaps it's not as swoon-worthy, but it's equally skin-crawling.
2.) WORDS OF WISDOM
Once she's been properly inducted into "Wanderlust's" hippie community, Linda is taken under Seth's wing for some extra-special attention. At one point during a heart-to-heart, he tells her that she's a born teacher. If that sounds familiar, you remember "Martha Marcy's" iconic moment, where cult leader Patrick (Hawkes) expounds to his young student, "You're a teacher and a leader."
3.) SIBLING SHENANIGANS
Neither film is all about the group living setting -- both include stints at a sibling's posh abode. In "Wanderlust's" case, it's George's obnoxious brother Rick (Ken Marino) and his airy, unhappy alcoholic wife Marissa (Michaela Watkins). Conversely, after escaping the cult, Martha winds up at her sister Lucy's (Sarah Paulson) vacation home, where her uptight husband Ted (Hugh Dancy) attempts to reconcile his wife's empathy for her clearly disturbed sibling. Both films include tense confrontations between the families (and some pretty absurd breakfast and dinner blow-up's). In fact, we'd totally buy a ticket to the spinoff film: George and Marcy's Wacked Out Families Dining Together.
4.) SPREADING THE LOVE
Both movies involve members of a commune farming their shared land and selling the goods while living in a house without boundaries (namely: doors), but perhaps the most memorable rule of thumb employed is that of free love. The issue is something George and Linda struggle with at Elysium in "Wanderlust," and one that is employed to wholly disturbing effect between Martha and Patrick. We're pretty sure, though, that "Martha Marcy May Marlene's" leader didn't require a loin-girding pep talk in the mirror a-la Rudd's character.
5.) WADING IN THE WATER Elizabeth Olsen does a lot of swimming in "Martha Marcy May Marlene." She's constantly diving into lakes -- an effect often utilized to transition between current and past moments in her life. There's a lot of lake diving in Wanderlust, too. Naked lake diving. Geriatric lake diving. Automobile lake diving.