Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston
Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Apatow Productions, whose film Bridesmaids became the comedy event of last summer, has produced a rare misfire with Wanderlust.
Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston star as George and Linda, a married couple from New York stuck in a routine, lacking passion in their lives. They seek solace in a hippie commune known as Elysium, which they stumble upon en route to moving in with George’s jerk brother (played by the reliably hysterical Ken Marion) in Atlanta.
But while Wanderlust has an interesting plot, the humor becomes tired and overdone. Recent comedy hits like The Hangover and Horrible Bosses similarly feature raunchy dialogue and R-rated shenanigans, but never overstay their welcome quite like Wanderlust.
When George and Linda first enter the commune they, along with the audience, immediately encounter male nudist showing everyone his full frontal. The trouble is, the film’s writers believe a naked hippie is enough for the audience. Sadly, nudity is a gag that plays throughout the film, progressively becoming less funny and more uncomfortable.
Another running gag throughout the film is the hippies’ complete ignorance of modern technology. They frequently reference “modern” technology like VCRs and floppy disks. Get it? The movie is reminiscent of a Saturday Night Live gag stretched at an hour and a half.
The film squanders a great cast. Rudd is still likeable, but forced into the script’s lazy humor, like the constant repetition of the word “erection.”. Aniston, whose character antics include a really bad acid trip, cannot overcome the humorless script either, despite a valiant effort to bring energy to the screen.
Wanderlust sticks the landing on some jokes, but they are few and far between. Considering what this film had going for it, it’s nothing short of a disappointment.