I should start this review by saying that I am pretty into David Wain. I love Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models, The Ten, Childrens Hospital, and Stella. And when I saw the trailer for Wanderlust I was mildly excited at best. The jokes seemed a bit forced, the characters contrived, and the concept underwhelming. If I’m honest this was exactly what I got from the movie too. But I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. I found myself laughing consistently, a few times hysterically, and was able to brush off most of the qualities I found off-putting.
The worst thing about Wanderlust is the sheer number of cliches it is riddled with. Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston play a typical representation of high strung New Yorkers, George and Linda, who–on the same freaking day–receive terrible news about their respective careers, an ambiguous corporate something or other, and a noncommittal documentarian (or whatever other thing she gets into). They move out of NYC after this misfortune and go to Rudd’s brother’s (Ken Marino) McMansion in Atlanta. He’s a racist dick with a shitty son and wife who clearly hates her life. On the way they stay at a commune and realize they want to give it a go.
Plot elements are fairly unoriginal and dialogue can have a certain cheese-factor (“I feel like I’m finally a part of something”-type deal). The saving factor is the cast, which I like to say is all of the funny people–the ones you usually have trouble remembering their names. Add the incredibly likeable Rudd and it’s hard to not look past this movie’s shortcomings.
This isn’t a movie you’ll regret missing, but it is good for more than a few laughs and is decidedly inoffensive (unless you really hate nudity).
Like Role Models, I see Wanderlust as a film that will grow on you each time you watch it. There is a lot going on in the sub plot of the movie that will keep you entertained and I believe will offer further nuances over repeated viewings.
The cast is great. Everyone is a stand out performer, mostly from The State or the works that the members have been in since their sketch comedy days. Most characters were used pretty fully, but there was quite a number so I feel like I would’ve liked to see more of some characters.
Overall, I’d like this to be one of those movies that comes on tv a lot and I happen to catch it every so often. The pace and jokes are laid out so that you can get involved at any part of the movie and I would like to see it a few more times, even if it isn’t from start to finish.