Movie Review - Wanderlust

The title of this movie doesn't fit. It doesn't fit for any of its characters. Wanderlust is the impulse to travel as a result of restlessness or a sense of adventure. The two main characters in this movie, George and Linda, played by Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston, do travel. They leave New York City and head south to Atlanta. This trip comes from no willing impulse or because George and Linda are restless or want an adventure. They lose their jobs, can't afford even a Manhattan micro-loft, and only have George's brother, Rick, played by Ken Marino, in Georgia. If it's forced upon you by circumstance, I'm not sure it can be technically labeled wanderlust.

Director and co-writer David Wain (Role Models) perhaps is going for a bit of irony because Linda assumes George to possess something akin to wanderlust, which turns out to be not the case. What she assumes is something in herself, a lack of commitment. George and Linda end up on a commune filled with people who lack boundaries and who are all leftist in their politics and beliefs. It's confusing because George just goes with the flow and embraces their customs and practices, whereas at first Linda does not.

Eventually, she does start to assimilate into the community. It's funny because the song associated with Linda is R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly," and Linda might fancy herself a bird. In one scene, she does so literally, but, having the ability to pick up and go, not to be tied to anything, so as to soar through air, is seemingly appealing to her. It's not that the commune doesn't have rules. It's merely that there is an openness, a fluidity. It's mostly just a rejection of the confines and constraints of the city, but the filmmakers also want a rejection of the suburbs too.

It's an interesting character of which Aniston doesn't make much. I don't think she's made much of any person she's played since The Good Girl. Rudd isn't doing any great acting either, nothing beyond what he's done before. My favorite of his recent performances is I Love You, Man (2009). Yet, he's been more effective in smaller roles, such as Wet Hot American Summer and his roles in various Judd Apatow directed and produced films. Nevertheless, Rudd and Aniston are funny together. Rudd is singularly funnier, but Aniston doesn't hurt the hilarity.

There are no real surprises in terms of plot development. The humor is built on throwing out surprising things but nothing more surprising that things we've seen this year or in previous Apatow produced films. The most far flung is a nudist, played by Joe Lo Truglio who puts his penis right into George's face, but Hall Pass (2011) did the same thing, so there's no novelty and no shock value to it, so no real point.

The comedians who round out the cast are delightful, including Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key who have their own show called Key & Peele, as well as Alan Alda (M*A*S*H). The sexy Justin Theroux and the even sexier Malin Ackerman are funny pieces of eye candy, but the scene stealer is co-writer Ken Marino who plays George's brother Rick. In his own words, Rick is a dick but Marino is so awesome at playing it.

The movie barely is cohesive, but so many individual scenes are so extremely gut-busting that this movie is more than watchable. Linda's pitch to HBO is hilarious. George and Linda's car ride had me cracking up. The circle of truth at the commune and the dirty talk in the mirror are scenes that garnered actual laughter out loud.

Four Stars out of Five.
Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 38 mins.


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