"Despite the predictability, there are some terribly funny moments within the film..."
Ever wondered what the outcome would be had Judd Apatow been involved in the recently released indie drama Martha Marcy May Marlene? Because if you had (unlikely I know), then Wanderlust is the answer you're looking for - as Apatow has combined with director David Wain to generate a somewhat predictable comedy set on a hippy commune.
George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) are a happily settled couple, moving in to a new apartment in New York. However, when George is fired from his job to leave the restless and effectively unemployed Linda as the breadwinner, panic strikes as the pair must move out of their new flat - deeming them homeless.
They decide to stay with George's brother Rick (Ken Marino) and his wife Marissa (Michaela Watkins) yet Rick's vulgarity and obnoxiousness proves too much to bear so the pair search for other alternatives, finding solace in a hippy commune they had previously stumbled upon, as they seek a way out of modern society. Life changes dramatically for the couple, as they start afresh, free of technology and negativity, in an environment that proposes free love, mostly advocated by the ring-leader Seth (Justin Theroux). Yet will such a change of pace affect George and Linda's relationship?
Despite being relatively humorous in parts, Wanderlust is certainly lacking within its clichéd and inevitable storyline. Especially as far as the film’s disequilibrium is concerned - where the antagonists are simply men in suits wanting to tear down the commune and build a casino (yawn). Isn't that pretty much what The Muppets have just done? The story just doesn't feel strong enough, and the whole hippy commune aspect would work brilliantly as a 15 minute section to a film, but not sure if it has the strength and substantiation to carry the entire plot.
Yet despite the predictability, there are some terribly funny moments within the film, although perhaps too few and far between. Often the comedy is a little too accessible and simple, relying on nudity or generalised hippy jokes to generate laughter. Although having said that, there is one moment in the bathroom where George is gearing himself up for sex with a different woman which had me (and those around me) in absolute stitches.
Rudd is very funny in the film, as he is slowly becoming the master of improvised word comedy, following on from a full feature-length film of just that in I Love You, Man - although the hilarious scene in Wanderlust is still short of the hilarity in the 'Slappin' the bass' scene in John Hamburg's quotable production. Rudd is however the only truly funny character in the film and I feel that he needs other comedic roles around him to bounce off. He is certainly funny but hasn't got the strength of character to carry the film on his own.
Aniston, in the meantime, is merely a cipher - a necessity for the plot, but generally unmemorable. Also, maybe this is just me being silly, but Rudd is still Mike from Friends. And Aniston is still Rachel from Friends, so seeing them together is a little weird. What about poor Phoebe?!
Wanderlust is just as you would expect it to be, and just what you want when needing an effortless and enjoyable comedy to watch. Just don't expect a mind-blowing and unique production, because you'll leave disappointed. Although with Rudd and Aniston as the lead roles and Apatow/Wain behind it, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have anticipated anything else.