For months before its release, both Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston teased entertainment news magazines and websites with rumors of her topless moments in his new comedy. Somewhere among all the flesh and limbs though, they forgot to season their collaboration with a bit more comedic spice. Stella’s own David Wain (Role Models) does the directing, but perhaps there are only two reasons to see Wanderlust. And, no, those (you dirty minded reader, you) aren’t what I mean. Saved solely by Paul Rudd’s improvisation and Theroux’s acting, Wanderlust is a purposeless date movie at best.
Two young yuppies – George (Rudd) and Lydia (Anistion) – finally commit to purchasing a studio apartment in New York that they can’t afford. After a very important day ends very badly – resulting in job losses for both – the two have no option but to abandon their property and move to Georgia. There, shacking up with George’s annoying brother Rick (Ken Marino, who co-wrote the script) and depressed wife Marissa (Michaela Watkins), they make the decision to follow their own happiness and join a commune of free-spirited souls at Elysium, a scenic Bed and Breakfast.
Filled with zany characters – a wine-making nudist (Joe Lo Truglio) who also writes books, an interracial hippy couple (Lauren Ambrose and Jordan Peele), a yoga-minded hot body (Malin Akerman), an aged burnout (Alan Alda), an angry freak-fundamentalist (Kathryn Hahn), and the oddball mother figure (Kerri Kenney) – Elysium welcomes the recovering yuppies with open arms. Led by the humorous charm of hippie stoner/sleazebag Seth (Theroux), the gang opens the minds of George and Lydia and, as the couple grows apart, sets them on their own path of comedic redemption as the two love birds realize what truly is and isn’t important in this materialistic world.
With only a quarter of the laughs found in Wain’s Role Models and even less of the anarchy found in Wet Hot American Summer, Wanderlust floats by on the spirited (but ultimately “safe”) zaniness of its cast. Don’t get my wrong, penises pass by the camera as often as a fly in Texas heat, but – in a screenplay with material and characters that demands twisted dynamics – everything is fairly tame and to be expected. People looking for a bit of chaos and anarchy, should keep looking. Wanderlust is pretty straight forward and tells a very basic story of endurance.
Bellyaching laughs are not to be found through much of the antics on screen. Save for Rudd’s pre-sex improve in front of a mirror – after his wife gives permission for him to sleep with Akerman – and Theroux’s randomness in character quips, there’s not much to laugh at. This is all disappointing considering the talent involved and, with producer Judd Apatow alongside for support, it’s most certainly alarming. This is date-night material, for sure, just not comedic enough to be enjoyed without your significant other.
Wanderlust isn’t a grueling experience. Just lower your expectations and increase the use of insect repellent. Pack some sunscreen for your stay and you probably won’t get burned.
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, graphic nudity, language and drug use.
Director: David Wain
Writer: David Wain, Ken Marino
Cast: Paul Rudd; Jennifer Aniston; Justin Theroux; Alan Alda; Malin Akerman
Tagline: Leave your baggage behind.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I drink the nourishment that Gaia is feeding me through her cloud teats."
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Release Date: February 24, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: June 19, 2012
Synopsis: Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston star in Wanderlust, a raucous comedy from director David Wain (Role Models) and producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) about a couple who leaves the pressures of the big city and joins a freewheeling community where the only rule is to be yourself.
George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) are an overextended, stressed out Manhattan couple. After George is downsized out of his job, they find themselves with only one option: to move in with George’s awful brother in Atlanta.
On the way there, George and Linda stumble upon Elysium, an idyllic community populated by colorful characters who embrace a different way of looking at things. Money? It can’t buy happiness. Careers? Who needs them? Clothes? Only if you want them.
Is Elysium the fresh start George and Linda need? Or will the change of perspective cause more problems than it solves?
English SDH, French, Spanish (less)
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH (less)
Available on Blu-ray - January 11, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; DVD copy; BD-Live; D-Box
Playback: Region-free (reviewed)
The 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer fares a little better than the actual movie. The colors venture a bit on the warmer side of the dial so expect a lot of dry greens and bitter browns in the texture of the film. Interiors roll out with browns and oranges solid and exteriors appear to be very natural-like. Skin tones are a bit warm – with Rudd’s being the exception – and the details are near fine throughout. It’s not the best-looking transfer in recent years, but it certainly won’t offend. Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is also clear. It’s a front-centered dialogue-heavy track, so don’t be put off by the lack of surround details in some settings.
- How many ways can say “awkward”? Paul Rudd, producer/director/co-writer David Wain and producer/co-writer Ken Marino provide the film’s uncomfortable (with silence and comedy) commentary. There’s some information here – don’t know how good or how bad it is – but it is there. It’s just these three – even with the help of Kevin Pollak’s impressions - don’t seem to be in the spirit to make it all that interesting.
Interestingly enough, Wanderlust kicks off with some solid supplemental material by including a totally different cut of the film. It’s called the bizarre cut because all the lines have been changed or improvised and include different takes throughout. Clocking in at 80-minutes, Wanderlust’s revision features alternate lines, jokes, deleted scenes, and outtakes that are beyond strange…giving this the sort of spirit it actually needed. There are plenty of serious behind the scenes moments in another featurette that is to be commended on its seriousness and then, on a completely different level, we have a look at what it takes to wear a prosthetic penis throughout a movie. Rounding out the supplemental material is Univeral’s running Line-O-Rama series (which looks at more adlibbing and comedic lines) and a gag reel that borders on overkill.
- Wanderlust: The Bizarro Cut (80 min)
- God Afton! Behind the Scenes of Wanderlust (27 min)
- Penis Envy (8 min)
- Line-O-Rama (9 min)
- Wainy Days: Elysium (9 min)
- The Elysium Campaign (6 min)
- Gag Reel (6 min)
- Theatrical Trailer