Wanderlust

Director: David Wain
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Alan Alda and Malin Akerman
Released: Mar 2, 2012

The premise is solid.
There’s no doubt about that. Placing two straitlaced urbanites into a hippy commune, where all ways of life are acceptable, should be guaranteed a few laughs. Plenty of weed based humour, the odd nudist thrown in for good measure, it really should work. But sadly, like the hippy commune itself, Wanderlust just lacks any kind of direction or purpose.

The plot:
George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) are living the fast life in New York city. Instant coffee and Blackberries abound! So when they both lose their jobs on the same day, they decide that their lives needs a new direction. On the way to George’s brothers house, they stumble across a new way of life in the form of Elysium, a rural commune, where weed, guitars, nudity and free love reign supreme.

With a focus on peace and free love, guitar melodies and cannabis, you’d think the tone of this film would be more uplifting. It isn’t that it’s particularly depressing (not even during a scene of mass elderly nudity), but neither does it offer any kind of fulfillment. With a glance into hippy culture in a modern era, there was potential here for some truly thought provoking material. Instead, the film is far happier to simply throw gag after gag of poor hygiene and open sexual relationships at you, while driving towards it’s inevitably predictable conclusion.

Most of the characters manage to get one or two good lines in while all of this is happening, but they are rarely delivered with any notable skill. Rather than laughing out loud, you’ll be far more likely to ho-hum through the entire film, while issuing the odd chuckle. These will probably come from some of the films best bits that involve a car/lake accident, a good opening montage or George psyching himself up for a sexual encounter. However, the gags in between these sections are inconsistent and simply uninspired.

The fact that many of the characters lack any complexity is also readily apparent. Seth (Theroux), a character openly fighting for Linda’s affections, feels particularly poorly written. He undergoes radical changes that don’t feel natural in order to fit into the archetype of villain. And while Joe Lo Truglio’s character is memorable, this is primarily due to the fact that he is naked for the entire film, rather than any interesting character quirks.

In fact, that film is bearable to watch at all is mainly down to the charm of it’s two leads. While neither hands in a spell-binding performance, the simple charm of ‘being’ Paul Rudd and Jennifer Anniston is enough to see the film through. While hardly hilarious, there is a certain sense of bemusement to be derived from seeing these two celebrities being taken out of their element exposed to the natural environment.

Overall:
It doesn’t take a genius to see that the only real function of Wanderlust is to rake in money. Two likable lead characters in a ridiculous situation, the comedic premise is sure to draw in the crowds. Be aware, however, that it offers little more than that premise suggests. It isn’t intelligent and it isn’t particularly engaging, but it just about manages to get by on it’s few strengths.

Rating:  5/10

 “I really like you…we should make love sometime.” – Eva

Shamelessly Awful Facts:

  • While I gave this film a low score, and remain firm that it’s not that good, I still had a lot of fun watching it. Why? Because I did so with a friend who makes every single film wonderful by laughing at everything. EVERYTHING! Rose, you are awesome.
  • Jo Lo Truglio wore a prosthetic penis for the duration of this film. A running joke on set, apparently was to run up and touch it while he wasn’t looking. Because it brought luck or something perhaps? Who knows?

This film is kind of like:

  • Being the designated driver.

or

  • Staring out your window when you’re supposed to be working.
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Published in: on March 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Welcome Rose! You were the best thing about this film!

  2. My favourite thing about this is the “This Is Kind Of Like…” section. It IS like looking out the window when you’re meant to be working!

    Also, I like that I get internet compliments. THANKS STEVE.


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