Jennifer Aniston deserves better material. Paul Rudd does as well. So what are they doing in this turkey? Sure it is produced by Judd Apatow, who produced Pineapple Express and Knocked up that were truly hilarious. Recently he achieved some praise for producing Bridesmaids, however the vulgarity of Bridesmaids bothered me, and Apatow allowed the same thing to happen to this film. Wanderlust is an attempt to gross the audience out before it walks out. David Wain and Ken Marino wrote this exercise in staying awake while Wein directed it.
Linda (Aniston) and George (Rudd) are a married couple facing financial problems in Manhattan. George loses his job and they decide to move to Atlanta with his brother to get away from the rat race. On the way their car gives them trouble and they end up spending the night in a commune, Elysium, where free love is the lifestyle. At first Linda and George hesitate, but gradually Linda is seduced by commune leader Seth (Justin Theroux) and the freedom of the atmosphere. George is as well, but Linda is the first to agree to have sex with Seth. This gives permission to George to cheat. He acquiesces after he is seduced by the beautiful Eva (Malin Akerman) but he fails to consummate his lovemaking as he is too uptight and frightened to be appealing to Eva. Nor is he to the audience. Nor is he funny. Silly he is.
"I'm ready to have sex. I've wanted to have sex with you," George blurts out while grimacing and making faces reminiscent of your local chimpanzee, as he fakes his ability to be seductive. Eva's dialogue is not an improvement when stone faced she says, "I can lick your balls while giving you a blow job."
When George and Linda first approach the commune, their car breaks down as a naked man walks towards them. Seeing male full frontal nudity while running gave me hope for a fleeting moment that this film would be refreshing. Wrong. Instead this was a clue to the grotesqueness of the film and vulgarity of what was about to ensue.
Playing a real estate agent, Linda Lavin in a cameo opens the film with an expectation that this will be a funny film, as her timing is impeccable and her delivery on the mark. She is selling this naïve couple a micro loft more commonly known as a studio, but almost as soon as she fades from the movie, so did much of any real comedy. Alan Alda plays a member of the commune with the talent and finesse only he can pull off amidst sloppy writing. Aniston does Aniston to a T and can never look bad, but funny she is not. Unfortunate would be a better title for this bird.
Follow Carole Mallory on Twitter: www.twitter.com/carolemallory