"The Lorax" (Universal): As if we needed another reason to love the late Dr. Seuss, look no further than his pro-environmental, anti-industrial book "The Lorax." So it's fitting, at a time when monolithic corporations are destroying the planet in practically every way imaginable, that the 3D movie musical version of "The Lorax" has arrived at your local megaplex.
What appears to be an innocent story of young love – motorized unicycle riding Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) is crushed out on waify nature-girl Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift) – actually carries a forward thinking moral that can be applied to our less animated lives. The residents of Thneedville are as happy as can be in their natureless town, surrounded by plastic, battery-operated trees and paying for bottled air, supplied by crooked corporate kingpin O'Hare (voiced by Rob Riggle). Everyone is happy, that is, except for Audrey, who misses real trees, spends her time painting them in murals and would give her heart to the person who can deliver a Truffula tree to her.
With words of wisdom from his sassy Grandma Norma (voiced by Betty White), Ted bravely ventures outside the secure confines of Thneedville and tracks down The Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms). Now living as a hermit, The Once-ler feels responsible for the destruction of the environment. Because despite promising The Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito), who speaks for the trees, that he would curtail his Truffula tree chopping, regardless of mounting consumer demand for the thneeds he designs and manufactures out of the trees, The Once-ler reneged on his word. And then there were no more trees.
After listening to The Once-ler's tale, Ted is rewarded with the last remaining Truffula tree seed. But getting it back to Thneedville, knowing what he knows, and escaping the evil clutches of O'Hare and his henchmen, is going to be more a challenge than Ted ever imagined. The songs and musical "production numbers" give "The Lorax" something special, making it a true delight. The 3D, however, feels like an afterthought. Nevertheless, "The Lorax" is a pleasure, with a moral for good measure.
"Wanderlust"(Universal): Short-lived though it may be, Jennifer Aniston is on a role. Her slutty/kooky dentist in "Horrible Bosses" made the movie less horrible. In "Wanderlust," which reunites her with Paul Rudd, her co-star in the gay-themed "The Object of My Affection," she plays Linda, a woman with an eclectic resumé now trying her hand at being a documentary filmmaker. Linda and husband George (Rudd) have just purchased a micro-loft in the West Village that is way beyond their means.
When the firm that George works for is shut down by the FBI and HBO passes on Linda's penguins-with-cancer doc, their world is suddenly turned upside down. On the way to seeking refuge in suburban Atlanta at the home of George's unpleasant brother Rick (Ken Marino) and self-medicated sister-in-law Marissa (Michaela Watkins), George and Linda stumble upon Elysium, which on the surface appears to be a B & B. They are charmed by the commune-like atmosphere of the place and by the inhabitants, including LSD-damaged founder Carvin (Alan Alda) and resident guru Seth (Justin Theroux). But they are undeterred and continue on their journey.
Of course, it doesn't take long for things to go south in the South at Rick and Marissa's and pretty soon George and Linda are headed back to Elysium. But it's not all it's cracked up to be either and there is a strain on their marriage, especially after the subject of open relationships – something practiced at Elysium – is broached. Alternately silly and wacky and touching and heartwarming, "Wanderlust" manages to jam a whole bunch of hot-button issues (i.e. unspoiled land being to real estate developers for nefarious purposes) into its 90 or so minutes, but the love lessons and loads of laughs makes it all worthwhile.