'Wanderlust' hits, misses
by Davia L. Mosley
dmosley@mdjonline.com
February 24, 2012 12:00 AM | 1448 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Paul Rudd, left, and Jennifer Aniston star in ‘Wanderlust.’ The film opens today.<br>The Associated Press
Paul Rudd, left, and Jennifer Aniston star in ‘Wanderlust.’ The film opens today.
The Associated Press
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If you want to see a movie about inherently stupid people making really bad decisions, or recycled cast members from Judd Apatow’s films, you will love “Wanderlust.” In a movie with many familiar faces, the jokes begin to get stale, and the shtick begins to stink.

I do have to admit that films such as “Anchorman” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” are two of my favorite Apatow films, but this one missed the mark. It was a quirky comedy that soon turned into a big, stupid mess.

George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) are a young married couple living in New York City. George is a businessman who allows his wistful wife to chase her dreams, whether it’s opening an ice cream store, designing jewelry, or her latest venture — a documentary about penguins with testicular cancer. (Emphasis on stupid.)

They have recently purchased a micro loft in New York City’s West Village, which really means a small studio apartment with a hefty mortgage. Linda is trying her luck with HBO while George is a businessman, hoping for a promotion.

However, when the FBI raids his office, his promotion and his job go up in smoke. Linda’s HBO deal doesn’t fly either, and George is left to tuck his tail between his legs and reach out to his brother, business owner Rick (Ken Marino).

Rick lives in “Atlanta,” which really means Gwinnett County. His sprawling home, six-figure salary and endless supply of polo shirts and khakis can’t mask the fact that he is a jerk with a huge ego and dysfunctional household.

But Rick has offered him a job, so George and Linda pack up their belongings in their 1980-something Honda hatchback. (If you can afford an expensive apartment, wouldn’t it make sense to have a nicer car? But I digress.)

Their journey leads them to Elysium, a bed and breakfast tucked away in north Georgia. A naked man in the woods, Wayne (Joe Lo Truglio) quickly makes them change their minds about staying for the night, but when George flips the car, they are stuck.

It turns out Elysium is more of a hippie gathering than a business. Its residents say they are high on life, but it’s mostly drugs and “herbal” tea.

While most of the residents keep their clothes on, they weren’t able to save this film. “Wanderlust” begins well, but just gets progressively stupid. George and Linda are seemingly too smart to fall for the foolishness of free love, being broke and living in a home with no doors, but they fall for it anyway.

They aren’t the only characters in denial. Elysium are practically in a cult, but the characters prefer the term “intentional community.” Elysium’s leaders, Seth (Justin Theroux) and Carvin (Alan Alda), seem the most removed from reality but no one wants to say much about it.

I like Aniston in comedies, but I think her turn in “Horrible Bosses” is her best comedic role yet. This Linda character is just like Aniston’s others in films such as “Just Go With It” and “The Breakup” — emotional and clueless. Rudd also falls into this category. His character Ned in “Our Idiot Brother” would have blended right in at Elysium. Even though some of the cast was the same in both films, “Our Idiot Brother” was a better movie.

There are many comedic moments, but some things began to get old fast. The worst scene is when George attempts to give himself a pep talk about sleeping with the beautiful Eva (Malin Ackerman). The best parts are with Rick and his scene-stealing, perpetually drunk wife, Marissa (Michaela Watkins).

Twenty-somethings will probably get a kick out of the rated-R humor overload. For 30-somethings, they will see this as a cast reunion for MTV sketch comedy show “The State.” For those 40 and older, there’s really nothing for you, except Alda — and I can’t guarantee you will be happy about it. I went into “Wanderlust” with low expectations and left disappointed that they weren’t low enough.

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