01 March 2012
Wanderlust is the latest comedy by the writer/director of 2008’s Role Models, David Wain. He teams up with Role Models star Paul Rudd, who has been box office gold lately, and added Jennifer Aniston, who is coming off a hilarious turn in this summer’s box office hit Horrible Bosses. So, I headed into this with reasonable to high expectations.
The plot is simple. George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) are a married couple living in NYC. They buy a small loft apartment in an expensive neighborhood. George loses his good paying job. Linda fails to sell her latest documentary (which happens to be about penguin killing) to HBO. They find themselves homeless and on a road trip to Atlanta where George’s brother Rick (Ken Marino) owns a port-a-pot company.
George and Linda are forced to stay the night at a B & B with a group of hippies. That night, they both have the time of their lives. They leave the next morning for Rick’s, but decide to go back to the B & B. The commune of weirdoes charms them, and George and Linda decide to give it a go. In the meantime, the commune is in danger of being turned into a casino by an evil corporation. That is unless the commune can produce the deed to the property. There are also a lot of subplots. My favorite involves Wayne (Joe Lo Truglio) who is a nudist wine maker who is trying to write the next great American novel.
Wanderlust has so many funny and awkward scenes. The problem with the film as a whole is its unoriginality. There is really nothing new here. The story is very reminiscent of the 1997 Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley (before she got to be the size of a whale) film, For Richer or Poorer.
On the plus side, the supporting cast is hilarious. With Alan Alda, Malin Ackerman, Kathryn Hahn and Justin Theroux, to name a few, the laughs keep on coming. Theroux’s Seth is one of the funniest characters I have seen in a while. Seth is a non-violent, peace loving, guitar playing, Capoeira stud who falls for Linda. The Capoeira scene made me laugh and think of the cartoon Bob’s Burgers.
In the end, I was mildly entertained, but not wowed by Wanderlust. I was expecting something with a lot more punch to it. It is the first real R-rated comedy of the year. I hope its poor box office performance over the weekend is not foreshadowing the decline of the genre. That would not bode well for April’s American Reunion. But, back to topic, if you want to see Wanderlust in theaters, you better get on it, as it might not survive to see three weeks in theaters. This was another straight down the middle trite film. No reason to see it. No reason not to.