With a cast made up of this many talented people, it’s hard not to expect big things from Wanderlust. However, those going in with high expectations will probably be disappointed. That said, despite all its flaws, the film is still filled with enough laugh-out-loud moments to carry you through. And isn’t that the reason you’re going to see a comedy like this in the first place?
Wanderlust tells the story of a couple in New York, George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennfer Aniston), who flee the city and their mortgage to start over in Atlanta. While en route to George’s brother’s home, the two become lost, and their car overturns while attempting to escape from a naked psychopath. As it turns out, the psychopath isn’t so psycho after all. He’s just a friendly nudist (Joe Lo Truglio) welcoming them to the Elysium Bed & Breakfast, which is part of a larger hippie commune (a.k.a. intentional community). After some initial awkwardness is wiped away with the help of pot, the couple falls in love with the commune as well as its quirky residents. And upon realizing that living with George’s asshole bother (Ken Marino) isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, they return to the commune to become permanent residents.
As you probably guessed, this is where the trouble begins. Who knew that living with a bunch of hippie stereotypes would be problematic? Not George and Linda. Predictable gags abound as the couple is forced to deal with communal toilets, disgusting food, and the judgmental ire of a group of left-wing nut jobs. Not to mention the trouble that comes from the commune’s “free love” policy. Turns out open relationships are complicated.
But even when you see the jokes coming, it’s hard not to laugh. A man having a conversation with two people while trying to defecate might not be the most inventive scene in the world, but damn if it wasn’t funny. And I know the scene where Rudd is psyching himself up in the mirror before sex went on way too long, but for some reason it worked. And there were a few pleasant surprises I didn’t see coming: specifically, one involving Joe Lo Truglio’s nudist/would be novelist.
Yes, at times the film is sappy, repetitive, and even predictable. Yes, the story has been told a thousand times. And yes, the characters are about as believable as an episode of Cake Boss. But with names like Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, and David Wain attached to the film, even the predictable, one dimensional characters manage to churn out the laughs.