February 28, 2012 by Vinnie Leduc
After they each had a strong performance in their last movies, Paul Rudd (in My Idiot Brother) and Jennifer Aniston (in Horrible Bosses, our pick for Best Comedy of 2011) have teamed up to mixed results in Wanderlust, a movie about a married couple experiencing and experimenting with the all-sharing and free-loving lifestyle in a hippie commune as opposed to the concrete jungle that’s recently spit them out.
It’s a couple steps down (at least) from director David Wain’s previous film, Role Models, which also featured Paul Rudd, and at best is worth a rental, even if you don’t care whether you get to see Jennifer Aniston’s frontal friends.
The trailer for Wanderlust couldn’t be more appropriate for the movie itself because both are excellent exhibitions of hit-or-miss comedy. Some gags are completely off-target. Most guilty of this is Paul Rudd’s mirror monologue in the film, which was like a really bad post-cancellation Family Guy joke that lasted 45 painfully uncomfortable seconds too long. The theater I was in was so quiet during this scene that you could hear a silent fart two rows away. Anything would’ve been better during that part, including nothing.
On the other hand, there were a good number of jokes that had me LOLing, especially from the very strong supporting cast, which includes Alan Alda, Malin Åkerman, and Kathryn Hahn. The best performances of Wanderlust come from Justin Theroux (last seen as the villain in Your Highness) and co-writer/co-producer Ken Marino. Theroux’s turn as slimy stoner Seth and Marino’s as suburban d-bag Rick are memorable ones that could lead their own short-lived webseries.
As for all the hoopla regarding the visibly aged Jennifer Aniston’s first frontal nudity scenes in cinema, here’s a spoiler you’ll appreciate if you’re wondering whether she’s finally gone Titanic: NOPE. Despite the apparent inclusion of them in early screenings, they’ve been left on the cutting room floor, so you’ll have to hope for the unlikely case of an unrated version on video that’s relevant. It’s not the reason why I didn’t like Wanderlust overall, but you know what you do get in the movie? Plenty, plenty, PLENTY of male frontal nudity, ugh… a disturbing trend in comedies that I’ve complained about many times before. Probably the most in a recent film that I can remember. Homey don’t play that.
Give Wanderlust a quick thought if you see it one day in Redbox or Netflix and there’s nothing else more interesting available. And if you decide to watch it, make sure you don’t skip the mid-credits bloopers and post-credits stinger, which features another supporting role that deserved more screen time. Wanderlust gets 2.5 out of 5 stars or C+ or Okay.