PAUL RUDD JENNIFER ANISTON JUSTIN THEROUX MALIN AKERMAN
It used to be when someone said a comedy was rated R, it was just that, a comedy
that was rated R. Now that movie audiences have become more desensitized to vulgarity
(or at least the vulgarity of yesteryear), when a studio promotes itself as “the
year’s first R rated comedy”, it means male nudity. Yup—full frontal male nudity
has become the main ingredient in these “R-rated comedies.” Last year we saw it in
the horrible comedy Hall Pass, the spoof Your Highness, and now in Wanderlust. Whether
it’s nudity or anything else, these types of films use it like pushing a button to
make a light go off. It’s “cue the drugs”, “cue the full frontal” and “cue the stupidity.”
What’s even worse—how many times have Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston played these
same characters? The only thing different is that they are playing opposite one another.
After buying a “micro loft” in The West Village in New York, married couple George
(Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) both lose their jobs and are forced to leave their busy
city life. They pack up and head down south to stay with George’s obnoxious brother
Rick (Ken Marino). On their long drive they crash into a different type of lifestyle,
one where people celebrate love, freedom and harmony. They don’t call themselves
hippies or refer to their collection of people as a commune. George and Linda find
peace there and decide to stay to try an entirely different way of life including
defecating with others present, sharing partners, and no privacy doors.
Aniston met her current boyfriend Theroux while filming this movie and that’s probably
going to be the only notable quality people will remember about Wanderlust. Written
and directed by the same guy who brought us Role Models and Wet Hot American Summer,
there wasn’t much of an expectation here as much as there was fear at how disgusting
it would get. Rudd’s free spirit George is like a sequel to his My Idiot Brother
character we saw last year. Rudd does manage the only funny scene in the film as
he preps himself to be with another woman using a variety of hillbilly accents (this
goes on so long it loses its humor).
If you compare Wanderlust to Bridesmaids, it elevates the Oscar-nominated comedy
to an even higher level than previously thought, which is why that film grossed so
much; and Wanderlust will be lucky to hit 30 million. Bridesmaids had original source
material combined with clever characters and witty dialogue; all Wanderlust has is
male nudity and dope sequences. For the majority of moviegoers this will entertain
their indulgence for dirty comedy, but when we have to pay ten bucks or more to see
a film, don’t we want something better than a film you will forget about in less
than 24 hours?
Final Thought – WanderTrash.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Rated R opens 2/24/12
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
This movie is especially funny to those who flirted with commune life in their past.
The couple in the movie literally stumble onto the commune Elysium accidentally;
but, like most, are initially taken in by the innocence, openness, and naturalness
that seems so idyllic and right in the beginning. Open doors, a vegan diet, strange
teas, nudity—they all feel so refreshing, and everyone is so nice and welcoming.
George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Anniston) are both a little self-conscious
at first, but they give it a good go, and after a brief run back to “normality” (George’s
brother’s house), decide to settle in. George’s brother is a major oaf, and anything
is better than that, right?
After a strong beginning, including hilarious bit scenes of the couple’s drive down
to Atlanta, the movie becomes more predictable as it goes along; but it still keeps
the audience laughing to the end. There are some very clever jokes and situations,
and some of the characters are enormously funny—the Paul Rudd character George and
the novelist Wayne (Joe Lo Truglio), in particular. Rudd has a scene in front of
a mirror followed by a seduction(?) scene that is a complete surprise, and makes
everyone laugh hard. But like many jokes, it goes on too long. This seems to be
a recurring aspect of Judd Apatow (producer) and his collaborators’ work. I see
the same thing on Saturday Night Live; If the writers/directors/editors would cut
the scene in half before it gets tiresome it would retain more of its humor.
All the actors are well cast, and Rudd and Anniston make a good match. Alan Alda
plays a generous slightly addled owner of the commune property, which he has had
for 40 years. All the supporting actors are really good in their roles, and Linda
Lavin as a real estate agent in the beginning of the film is just perfect.
Bottom line: A light movie that most people will enjoy if they like humor a la