“WANDERLUST” (Paul Rudd & Jennifer Aniston)
This raunchy R-rated comedy looked to be a comeback for Paul Rudd (from “How Do You Know?”) and a continuation of Jennifer Aniston’s breaking free of generic dumb comedies (from the promise of “Horrible Bosses”) Although it isn’t nearly as bad as “How Do You Know?” it isn’t even in the same galaxy as “Horrible Bosses”. For an R-rated comedy featuring my least favorite reason for an R rating (full frontal male nudity) “Wanderlust” is actually kind of tame; almost like a regular Jennifer Aniston movie, except with ‘F’ bombs and penises. “Wanderlust” even uses that old ploy of showing flubs and out-takes as the end credits roll – which usually means – ‘Sorry, we put forth such a bland effort so here are some out-takes so you’ll leave the theatre with a grin’...
“Wanderlust” has a decent beginning; Paul and Jen are married couple George and Linda. Living in New York and looking to buy an apartment – something they can call their own, instead of adding to someone else’s nest egg by paying rent. George is on the cusp of landing a big promotion at his job and Linda has produced a documentary she’s sure HBO will want to buy, so they invest in a tiny ½ bedroom apartment. George not only doesn’t get his promotion, his boss is arrested and the business goes under and Linda’s documentary on penguins with testicular cancer is deemed too depressing.
A promising opening, but after setting up the plot – where this ‘big city couple’ end up in rural Georgia at a commune called Elysium (or something like that) which changes both of their lives but in opposite directions – “Wanderlust” loses all momentum and turns into a run of the mill fish(es) out of water tale with very few humorous lines.
Part of the blame I felt came from the poorly thought out characters; George’s brother and sister-in-law being the most objectionable. They were totally unbelievable.
The wine making nudist that desires to be an author doesn’t lend much to the story, except his ever present penis, which of course he has to display for that hysterical never-before-seen sight gag of a man waking up to find a dong just inches away from his face. It’s that stooping to Adam Sandler-style comedy that runs “Wanderlust” into the ground.
Malin Ackerman plays virtually the same role she had in the original “Harold & Kumar” movie who wants to make ‘free love’ with George and for some unexplainable reason, George turns into a babbling incoherent a—hole after receiving permission from his wife to go ahead and nail her.
When one of the commune dwellers turns out to be a greedy sell-out, the film lost all credibility as far as I was concerned – It went from being an amusing idea with anticipation of bigger and better laughs to come to something you’ve seen before and didn’t care for the first time around.
And if you heard that Jennifer does a nude scene – it’s another cruel joke – she’s only topless – and because it’s shown as part of a newscast, her chest is pixilated...
I wanted to love “Wanderlust” because most of the comments I read and heard about it were positive, but I only liked it. And it made me wonder why everyone seemed to be raving about it. Is it just because it’s so early in the year everyone’s expectations are low? But then again, “Paul” came out early in 2011 and finished in my Top 10. I hate to think it, but I’m beginning to feel that Paul Rudd’s magical touch of making mediocre material work is wearing off. If his next project doesn’t pan out he’ll have 3 strikes in a row... I didn’t have a problem with the Rudd-Aniston pairing so I wouldn’t mind seeing them try it again with better material – or it could just be that the Rudd’s style of comedic acting is wearing thin on me...