Reviewed by Ian Forbes, Sobering Conclusion
Look. I love Paul Rudd. He’s great. I also love macaroni and cheese. It’s great. But just like I would eventually tire of eating mac ‘n cheese each night, there is such a thing as too much Paul Rudd.
In his latest film, Rudd plays a good guy with a sarcastic sense of humor struggling to find himself and make his relationship work. Although I’m talking about Wanderlust, I just as easily could have said I Love You, Man, Our Idiot Brother, Role Models, Knocked Up, etc. etc. As lovable and witty as Rudd is in all of these roles, it’s the same thing over and over again.
Despite being served the exact same plate of P. Rudd (what? no one calls him that? whatever), there’s still quite a bit to like about Wanderlust. The story is your basic, “love is more important than money” rigmarole with Rudd and his wife, played by Jennifer Aniston, testing the limits of their marriage while at a
commune intentional community.
The supporting cast is made up of talented comedians like Kathryn Hahn, Joe Lo Truglio, and Ken Marino (who also co-wrote the screenplay). Justin Theroux, Alan Alda and Malin Ackerman lend their talents to the ensemble as well. They somehow make the hippie enclave gimmick work, which is marginally impressive considering how much of a gimmick this truly is.
There are plenty of funny moments and if you’ve liked Rudd’s recent films, this will fall right in line. Be forewarned that there is plenty of nudity … just not of anyone you want to see in the buff. Also, the humor is often vulgar and slightly awkward. At times a scene lingers a bit too long on something particularly tasteless and it seems that director/co-writer David Wain is pushing the envelope simply for the sake of doing so. Aniston has never been a particular favorite, and feels a bit out of place here too, but whatever blandness she brings to the table (some people would call it “Rachelness”) is mostly made up for by the actors around her.
The biggest problem is in trying to bring everything together in the end, as the resolution feels rushed and slapped together. It’s clear the cast and crew had fun working together, which is most evident in the first two thirds of the production. Figuring out a way to get to the end credits falls back on your basic screenwriting 101 principles.
Still, Wanderlust delivers consistent laughs and will satiate fans of its stars. This won’t end up being something you re-watch over and over again but consider it a lovely way to spend 98 minutes on a lazy afternoon. And don’t be so quick to leave the theater; there are some bloopers early in the credits and a quick joke all the way at the end.
Wanderlust hits theaters on February 24, 2012 and is rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, language and drug use.