Katherine Hunnicutt of Woodridge was chosen to write a review with Dave Wilson last week.
Despite the considerable charms of Paul Rudd and enough interesting questions for three movies, Wanderlust never worked up more than a passing desire in this reviewer. In fact, the overabundance of shallowly developed ideas is probably what contributed heavily to its tendency to fall flat.
The beginning was catchy enough, with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston playing a couple of professionals in Manhattan whose dream of owning property in the Big Apple is finally fulfilled, and then quickly dashed on the rocks of unemployment.
Homeless and jobless, the pair decamps to stay with Rudd's obnoxious brother in Atlanta. The long car ride is filled with realistic bickering alternated with the boredom and goofy radio singalongs that road trips always seem to engender.
Desperate for a break, they stop at a bed and breakfast that turns out to be an “intentional community” (commune) full of remarkably well-dressed wacky vegan hippies, ready to support Rudd and Aniston in their hour of emotional need. After a rejuvenating night, the couple continues on its way to the brother's house in Atlanta, where he owns a small business and promises to employ Rudd's character.
Of course, the brother is a jerk and a bully, with a miserable wife who self-medicates with booze, and a son faithfully following in his father's rude footsteps. The job he offers Rudd is lowly data entry.
Unsurprisingly, our heroes decide to return to greener pastures of the intentional community of Elysium. Also unsurprisingly, life there is not as idyllic as it seemed from the perspective of an overnight stay.
At this point, the film abandons all pretenses of maturity and depth and dives headfirst into the shallow end of raunchy gross-out jokes, totally losing its narrative focus and becoming, quite frankly, boring. This is a shame, because the questions of what people do when their lives are turned upside down; how to balance making a living with having a life; and renegotiating a relationship when you leave behind the rules you thought you had to follow, are fascinating and the answers are frequently very funny. Too bad the filmmakers decided to focus on all the different ways to say “dick” in a condescending Southern accent instead.
Aiming to be both a teen sex comedy and an adult rom-com, Wanderlust hits neither target, but lands on sitcom laughs instead.