Lately, I’ve had two celebrity crushes.
The first is a woman, Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones, and the second (and I’m not ashamed of this) is a man, Wanderlust’s Paul Rudd.
As I may have alluded to in my Our Idiot Brother review, it’s pretty much impossible to hate him. He’s like a puppy dog; so full of love and energy that his own effervescence can carry movie. Luckily, Wanderlust and its comedy dream team cast can exist without him.
When George (Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) find themselves in tough financial straits, they’re forced to leave New York for Atlanta, where they’ll be staying with George’s brother. However, a chance encounter at a kooky bed and breakfast leads them to stay at Elysium, an “intentional community” (don’t call it a commune) full of nudists, hard drugs, and free love. Soon, George and Linda find themselves at odds over their communal experiences.
As I said, it’s a comedy dream team. Director and writer David Wain brings in many of his old cronies from The State, including Ken Marino (who co-wrote the film), Kerri Kenney-Silver, Joe Lo Truglio, Michael Ian Black, and Michael Showalter, which can never amount to anything unfunny. Joining them are frequent collaborators Justin Theroux, Kathryn Hahn, and Malin Akerman, and newcomers to team Wain Alan Alda, Jordan Peele and Lauren Ambrose.
Not one of them turns in a bad performance in Wanderlust. Rudd is at his hangdog best, Lo Truglio kills as nudist/novelist Wayne, and Wain, Showalter, and Black (better known as the comedy team Stella) are a stitch as a news team. The only weak spot, to me, was Aniston, who continues to prove her adeptness at playing the same character over and over again.
The problem with Aniston is that she seemingly hasn’t stopped being Rachel Green since Friends ended. It’s easy to imagine another person who’s collaborated with the group in the past – Jones, Elizabeth Banks, Julie Bowen – taking Linda and knocking her out of the park. Jen, however, plays her too stone-faced at times, and a great role falters.
Essentially, Wanderlust is like every other David Wain movie: the same few cast members pull out the same absurdist comedy. However, like all of his other films, they do this to great comedic effect. Wanderlust is very funny, but by no means a classic. It will likely be met with the same lukewarm reception that most of his films get, while State and Stella die-hards gnash their teeth. Bottom line: Wanderlust is hilarious. See it.