Film Review: Wanderlust is a hit-or-miss hippie comedy


Any movie with slow-motion shots of old naked people running must be mildly successful. This certainly holds true for the new film Wanderlust starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd.

The story centers on Linda and George (Aniston and Rudd) a married couple that buys a studio apartment in New York City. Shortly after this purchase, George loses his job and Linda is unsuccessful in selling her documentary to HBO. Out of options, the duo sets out to Georgia to stay with George’s idiotic but successful brother Rick (Ken Marino).

Before reaching Georgia, the two opt to spend the night at a bed and breakfast. To their surprise, the hotel is actually a commune filled with hippies and oddities.

Director and co-writer David Wain is known for his unusual and quirky sense of humor. His work includes Role Models, Wet Hot American Summer and the Adult Swim show “Children’s Hospital,” all of which showcase his zany style of comedy. Wanderlust may be the least successful of his work not because it isn’t funny, but because it’s the least consistent.

Once some time has passed in the commune, the film starts to lose its way. It feels as if the plot didn’t have enough time to gestate in the minds of the writers. One day, businessmen arrive with plans to build a casino on the land, but then the film dismisses this aspect of the plot for about 45 minutes. The jokes are also often hit or miss. For every moment of comedic genius, there is a corresponding segment of toilet humor an inept sixth grader could write.

Despite these inconsistencies in the story and humor, the actors that Wain assembled all bring their “A” game. Most of the supporting cast members are veterans of Wain’s previous work like “Children’s Hospital” and the sketch comedy show “The State.” They all commit to the material and gags, even when they don’t work. Aniston and Rudd are equally charming, with Rudd having perhaps the funniest and darkest scene in any comedy to come out in recent memory. This pool of great talent aids in elevating the film despite its meandering tendencies.

So Wanderlust must settle for being a sporadic and episodic comedy. Yes it’s often quite funny, but it may not be worth the 10 or 12 bucks you have to fork over to see it.