Wanderlust Takes an Uncomfortable Journey
- Friday, February 24, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 19, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: February 24, 2012
Rating: R (for sexual content, graphic nudity, language and drug use)
Run Time: 98 min.
Director: David Wain
Actors: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman, Ken Marino, Alan Alda, Joe Lo Truglio, Michaela Watkins
CAUTION: The following review contains discussion of mature subject matter. Parents please exercise caution with younger readers.
It’s tough to find a romantic comedy that’s both romantic and funny, without content that confuses sex with true love, or gross-out gags with good-natured laughs. Wanderlust, a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses) and Paul Rudd (Our Idiot Brother), isn’t altogether convincing as a romance but does deliver its share of laughs. However, the laughs are largely in the service of bawdy, R-rated material that makes the film difficult to recommend.
George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) are a couple who buy a New York studio apartment (“micro-loft” in the amusing parlance of the couple’s eager-but-cynical real estate agent) then abruptly find themselves without jobs or a source of income. After an attempt to live with George’s volatile and voluble brother Rick (Ken Marino, who also co-wrote Wanderlust, as well as 2008’s Role Models, both directed by David Wain) goes bad, the duo drives off, pulls off the road and winds up at Elysium, a commune led by Seth (Justin Theroux, Megamind) and populated by nudists and ex-hippies with a what’s-mine-is-yours mentality.
It’s no surprise when the couple, initially relieved and heartened by their experience with the commune, learns that the expectation of sharing extends not only to George’s car, but to his wife as well. The smarmy Seth has his eye on her, and it’s only a matter of time before he beds Linda off-screen and breaks the news to George. Already disillusioned, George decides that the answer to Linda’s unfaithfulness is to sleep with another woman (Malin Akerman, Couples Retreat) in the commune.
By that point the movie is halfway over, and you might find yourself wondering what happened to the rather quirky but amusing comedy of the first 45 minutes. The couple’s experimentation with drugs at Elysium tracks the movie’s downward trajectory. Scenes of the characters hallucinating aren’t very funny, and the movie starts to rely increasingly on the nudists at the commune for its outrageous jokes and situations. Needless to say, a little of that goes a long way. A storyline about a developer who wants to bulldoze Elysium plays like an afterthought, although it gives the film’s characters one more chance to take off their clothes as part of a protest in front of local news cameras (most of the body parts are digitally obscured for the news broadcast).
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