Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Wanderlust

In the past several years, there has been a comedic revolution of sorts in at the cinema.  Many argue it started with Old School, but I think that Anchorman gave it the biggest jolt with the climax (hehe, climax) coming (coming...smirk) with 2005's The 40-Year-Old Virgin.  And while the quality of these wickedly hilarious and sometimes ridiculously smart comedies has only slightly fallen, I can't help but get the sense that these movies will be getting a rude awakening sooner rather than later.  It will be sooner if more movies like Wanderlust rear their (somewhat) ugly heads.

A married Manhattan couple, George & Linda (Rudd & Aniston), believe they are on the way up.  They each have careers on the upswing and just bought an "micro-loft".  Then, everything collapses.  Linda's "An Inconvenient March of Penguins" style documentary is rejected by HBO and George's company was shut down by the feds.  On their way to George's brother's in Georgia for a restart, they happen upon a commune run by a 90's era free spirit (Theroux) and owned by an old school hippie (Alda).

It is at this point where hilarity ensues.  At least it kind of does.  Paul Rudd continues to be one of the comedic actors in the business.  He could make reading the phone book the laugh out loud comedy of the year.  Rudd has a scene in front of a mirror that will have even the straightest-faced person rolling in the aisles.  It felt as if director David Wain, who also directed Rudd in Role Models a few years back, gave him free rein in the scenes where Rudd goes insane.

It is just a downright shame that none of the characters, not even George, is the least bit interesting.  The supporting characters seem to be the rejects from Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  The most interesting character is a wanna-be wine-making novelist nudist who has the largest fake schlong since Dirk Diggler.  Memo to Hollywood: stop giving Malin Akerman this kind of role.  I don't care how free spirit looking she is, she can't act very well at all.  And when did I miss Justin Theroux enter the movie industry?  Because I want to kick him out.  He added nothing to the character that was written for someone much more famous in mind who rejected the role.  And George's brother in Georgia?  Don't get me started on him.  One word: pathetic.

I could go more into the main plot revolving around the fate of the commune is so tacked on and uninteresting that it is not worth getting into.  Plus, if you go see this movie, it is to laugh, not to, like myself, ridicule the lame tacked on story.  And yet, after all that complaining, I laughed.  Isn't that the point of comedy?  To make the audience laugh.  I laughed in spite of myself.  But the story?  Just terrible.

**1/2 (out of 5 stars)

1 comment:

  1. Good write-up. Wanderlust is pretty uneven but there were actually many moments where I couldn’t stop but laugh at mainly because of this great cast. Let me also not forget to mention the one scene where it’s just Paul Rudd improving for about 3 minutes all by himself. That was definitely worth the price of admission. Check out my review when you get the chance.