Wanderlust

15 Aug

 

 

Director: David Wain

Writers: David Wain, Ken Marino

Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd and Malin Akerman

Motion Picture Rating: 15

Runtime: 98 minutes

 

 

I consider the 2008 film Role Models to be a weak comedy featuring Paul Rudd so I came into this one, with the same star and from the same writer director (David Wain) with low expectations. The fact that this one is produced by Judd Apatow did not heighten those expectations. Apatow was good back in the mid-2000’s (on films such as Anchorman, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up), but more recently he has lost his touch (Funny People, Get Him to the Greek etc.) Apatow is proving to be a one trick pony and David Wain may join the stable if he keeps churning out weak comedies featuring Paul Rudd.

Here Rudd is married to Jennifer Aniston and the film starts with their New York dreams being crushed as he loses his job and Aniston’s latest piece of entrepreneurship crashes and burns. They have to vacate their “micro-loft” in the west village and head out of town. On the way to Rudd’s brother in Atlanta they stop in an odd b&b called Elysium that’s inhabited by a group of eccentric hippy types and run as a form of commune (with no doors, free love, plenty of mind-bending drugs and optional clothes). Rudd initially takes to the alternative lifestyle – “I feel I can breathe…” – but it takes more time for Aniston to drop her urban anxieties.

The opening 20 minutes of Wanderlust are funny enough and certainly had me smiling, but after that it is very thin gruel. There is one strange, but hilarious scene where Rudd, always happy to humiliate himself, psyches himself up with dirty talk in front of a mirror. Besides that scene, it is all very lightweight with supporting characters thinly drawn and with jokes borrowed from elsewhere. Aniston has little to work with and almost goes unnoticed. Whilst the humour is far from offensive it is also far from entertaining. Overall, the film has the feeling of a rushed TV pilot.

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