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Wanderlust


Whether we admit to it or not, we are all stressed about something. Our job, relationships, even what to eat for lunch are first world problems, but do account for stress in our lives. Often we are left wondering what it would be like to leave all that stress behind and start a new life full of relaxation and happiness. George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) find out first hand what that relaxed life entails in Wanderlust.

Grade:

After a company shutdown and failed documentary pitch, George and Linda leave New York for Atlanta to stay with George’s successful, arrogant brother Rick (Ken Marino). Feeling the tension of being stuck in a car for hours on end, they stop at Elysium Bed and Breakfast for a night. Elysium turns out to be an “intentional community” – commune – that opens George and Linda’s eyes to an alternative lifestyle free of the shackles of city life.

Written and directed by the same team that created the hilarious Role Models, Wanderlust has the same semi-cynical, sarcastic humor that has made Rudd so famous and the lightning-fast quips that are currently reshaping the comedic framework in film. The cast is filled with every level of comedy character-actors from Joe Lo Truglio (voice-crack guy in I Love You, Man) to the immature man’s Laura Linney, Kathryn Hahn. Everyone has their character and plays them the same in Wanderlust as they have in every other film. Ken Marino slightly breaks the mold by playing an off-putting, offensive, obnoxious porta potty salesman, but he will always be Ron Donald to me, so he gets a pass for this failed attempt.

The attraction to Wanderlust is clearly Rudd and Aniston spouting off endless one-liners until you can’t even think straight. Rudd, along with everyone else, was given ample opportunity to improvise about sixty percent of their lines, which has good and bad results. The good is that many of the lines are quite funny. The bad is that the whole film has a haphazard, unorganized feel to it. On many occasions, the joke is taken beyond the point of humor and you end up just watching a brainstorming session of what would be the best joke for the moment. Aniston made efforts to let loose that started way back with The Break-Up­, and succeeds to a certain degree. At times, her chemistry with real-life beau, Justin Theroux, overshadow her on-screen marriage to Rudd making them seem more like friends living together than husband and wife.

Wanderlust also falls prey to being affected by the audience you are with. There are certain jokes that require a more broad knowledge of popular culture, or even history – a Norma Rae joke fell flat in my group – and a lot of the best jokes are delivered right after ones that provoked laughter so they get overlooked. Wanderlust has a little bit for everyone to laugh at and will keep you laughing throughout, but at a decreasing intensity. Apparently there is such a thing as too many jokes.

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