The Disarming “Wanderland” Offers an Escape From Routine


For want of a phone charger! In writer-director Josh Klausner’s peculiar indie musical, a twentysomething dude wanders the Hamptons in borrowed board shorts and a sequined sash, spurred by bad luck and a failing iPhone battery. Disillusioned Alex (Tate Ellington) is lured to the Hamptons by the promise of a free weekend in a cottage away from the hustling, screen-obsessed masses of New York City. Little does he know that he’s about to embark on a mind-boggling musical journey through the night.

Ellington, silent for the first ten minutes, is so charmingly expressive that I almost wanted him to wander mutely the full length of this bizarre trip, if only to see him emote more. However, his character must break his silence when confronted with his odyssey’s song-happy characters: a coven of women ominously grilling sausages, a posse of dancers whose podiatrist croons into a mic, and a lonely farmer with a penchant for challah.

There’s no rhyme or reason to Alex’s journey, which makes the whole of it equally disarming and daffy. Klausner’s story seems to draw inspiration from fantastic tales like A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Alice in Wonderland but also the wised-up looseness of Martin Scorsese’s After Hours. As the straight man to this band of Hamptons weirdos, Alex is our spiritual guide on this brow-raising misadventure that shows escaping one’s daily routines can be difficult — but mostly worth it.

Written and directed by Josh Klausner
The Orchard
Opens April 20, Village East


Click here to sign up for our weekly film and TV newsletter.