Jennifer Aniston in Wanderlust:
The movie itself is incoherent babble. (Even more incoherent and babbling than the modern norm–evidently there was so much “improv” on the set, and so little belief in the final cut, that the Blu-Ray extras include an additional movie made up entirely of alternate line readings. Believe me, if they hadn’t told me, I could have guessed.)
But Aniston has one loose and funny rock and roll moment somewhere in the flaccid middle when her character “finds herself” by embracing the faux-hippie commune she and her initially-eager-but-increasingly-reluctant husband (yes, him again) have stumbled into.
The finding is embodied by a dance sequence with Aniston–half-swallowed by a spaghetti-western poncho any film-maker with a single grain of sense or style would have kept her in for the rest of the movie–lost in herself. Free from the character’s burdens and maybe, just maybe, free from the burden of being “Jennifer Aniston.”
The scene probably doesn’t last ten seconds.
And, of course, it doesn’t stand.
By the end, everybody at the commune except the standard “hypocrite-who-seemed-the-most-committed-of-all-but-then-gasp-sold-them-out!” (played by Justin Theroux with an admittedly creepy edge that’s blunted at every turn, usually for something along the lines of an edgy fart joke), is happy because they’re now rolling in the dough.
No way today’s frat-boy auteurists are going to let anyone–let alone a beautiful woman–stay “found” by discovering the part of the Sixties’ dream that, if it didn’t link quite specifically to the New Testament, at least followed Christ far enough down the path to reject the Old.
Yes, she calls all that up in ten seconds or less.
Not for the first time, I was visited by a sneaking suspicion that, if Hollywood still knew how to make movies, this woman would be really, really good in them. And, sorry as I am that she missed the thirties, I’m really sorry she missed the seventies.