Wanderlust review

This lame comedy stars Rudd and Aniston as happily married couple George and Linda, who have to move out of their tiny Manhattan studio apartment (or "micro-loft" as the real estate agent likes to call it) because of the credit crunch. The company Paul works for has gone under. En route to his overbearing brother's, they take an accidental detour and end up in a hippie commune. Their struggles to adapt to their new lifestyle makes up the rest of the running time of this plastic fish out of water exercise.

This reviewer was left resolutely unamused by the tedious attempts to mine comic possibilities from the silly scenario. The couple are persuaded to stay by sleazy Seth (Theroux), the commune leader who takes a shine to Linda. Gorgeous Akerman is the sexy blonde who wants George inside her. Free love is rampant. The other inhabitants are equally charmless, such as nudist Wayne (Truglio) who thinks himself a talented novelist, and earth mother Almond (Ambrose) who leaves the umbilical cord and placenta attached to her newborn. Alda plays the commune elder who sneaks out once a week to heave a hearty meal of meat in a cafe. Developers want to build a casino on the land where they all live and there's a tiresome, perfunctory subplot where the hippies take on the establishment over who owns the rights. They make their stand by the women going topless in front of a news crew – Aniston's breasts are pixillated.

The best scene is when Rudd is gearing himself up for his liaison with Akerman, practicing in front of the mirror with a welter of over-the-top facial and verbal expressions. But all in all, it's a mess. The narrative is devoid of sharp lines or clever wit. There's no real comic sensibility to the proceedings as much as they strive for it. It bombed at the US box office and it's easy to see why. Lacking appeal and smarts, it's unfocussed, unfunny and unpersuasive. Don't waste your time.
SECOND OPINION | Stuart O'Connor ★★★
This fish out of water rom-com doesn't quite work, but there is some fun to be had. Rudd and Anistone are likeable enough and work hard to deliver the laughs. And there are some laugh-out-loud ... but not an awful lot. And most of them are, for wont of a better woird, raunchy – as you'd expect from a film produced by Judd Apatow. Co-writer/director Wain was responsible for the much funnier Role Models, which also starred Rudd. This is not as funny, but it does have its moments.

Wanderlust at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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