Review – Wanderlust

Jim Ross 22 March 2012

Wanderlust

David Wain – 15 – 98 mins

3/5

It becomes apparent early on in Wanderlust, the latest in Judd Apatow’s oeuvre, that a cast of very talented comic actors is carrying a rather weak script. Fortunately, they elicit enough laughs to largely get away with it.

Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston play the yuppie couple George and Linda. After reluctantly buying an expensive shoebox (“It’s a micro-loft!”) in Manhattan’s West Village, the proverbial hits the fan. George is fired and Linda’s endeavour du jour, a documentary about cancer-suffering penguins, falls flat. They move in with George’s obnoxious brother, Rick, in Atlanta, but spend a night en route at a hippy commune – Elysium. Feeling more alive there than they have in years, and unable to stand Rick’s ‘hospitality’, they decide to return on a more permanent basis.

There are frequent laughs during Wanderlust; fish-out-of-water comedy as the couple adjusts to the hippy cliches of sharing and free love. Rudd and Aniston rely on comedic talent to make the most of poorly written roles and well-worn jokes (horror at casual fly swatting is an old favourite). The whole cast, however, never fail to get laughs from the script’s better moments. Justin Theroux is uproariously funny as Seth, Elysium’s alpha male and a New Age version of Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy. Wain shows some useful touches behind the camera; Rick chasing his stolen car becomes far funnier than it should due to the time the shot is held for.

Wanderlust lacks the screenwriting and cinematography nous to raise it to the level of breakout hits like The Hangover and Bridesmaids. It will be more at home on Sunday nights on ITV2 – very disposable, but if you stumble across it you’ll laugh enough to stop you from switching channel.

Jim Ross