Thursday, March 1, 2012
The overall muted response to Wanderlust really kind of shocks me. I think a large part of its lack of interest is probably Jennifer Aniston. Jennifer Aniston is in it and so everyone just thinks it's some lame rom-com. But, Paul Rudd is also in it and the guys behind Role Models, Wet Hot American Summer, and The State are behind it. Knowing all this before I went in made me psyched. Why wouldn't the marketing people be more obvious about all this? Oh wait, they kind of were. So is Jennifer Aniston a repellant to the average movie-goer? The average movie-goer who is sick of Jennifer Aniston and her bad habit of co-starring in bad movies?
Even critical response isn't all that great for this film. It could be way worse though, as it is, it's at 62% on rottentomatoes which makes me believe that critics just don't really care for silly comedies early in a year. They didn't much care for Hot Tub Time Machine back in March of 2010 and that's a very funny movie. Another movie, though, which came and went as if it never existed. Wanderlust is even funnier with its premise that pretty much allows it to get anywhere it wants to go and yet the movie never feels sloppy and while, of course, it ends in formulaic fashion, it has fun doing so.
Paul Rudd (George) and Jennifer Aniston (Linda) star as a married couple who make the bad decision of buying a small studio apartment in Manhattan. Almost immediately, their jobs fall apart and suddenly they decide that they have to make the move down to Atlanta to stay with George's brother but along the way make a pit stop at Elysium, a rural hippie commune filled with an array of crazy, fun-loving people. Upon leaving the commune and realizing that staying with his hot-headed brother was no such a great idea, George and Linda decide to go back and try to live at Elysium.
It would be false to say hilarity ensues because this movie is funny all throughout. Even though it has a clear formula, it still manages to pack in the jokes and seemingly every character in this movie has a funny line or two. That's actually what I love most about Wanderlust. There is no wasted character in the film. I wanted to meet every character in this film while watching it, that simply doesn't happen.
Some have even said that George and Linda are the least interesting characters in the film although I don't exactly agree. Paul Rudd does a great job as George even though it's similar to a lot of other Rudd characters. Still, Paul Rudd is such a great improvisor that he can still bring the funny. Jennifer Aniston also manages to bring her usual persona into this without being too annoying. Overall, the chemistry between the two actors is actually pretty strong and they work off each other really well. They may be the least interesting because they both act as the straight-men to all the other quirky characters that appear in the film. You can't fault them for that, they do a great job.
Wanderlust doesn't break new ground nor does it attempt to, it just manages to be consistently funny throughout it's 98 minute timeframe which is all you could really ask for in a movie these days, isn't it? That a comedy would actually be funny and remain funny throughout its running time? Unless you're humorless, easily offended, or are catatonic, you should find a great deal to laugh at with this film. This is a movie that has a lot of fun with its premise and its characters and that kind of exuberance has to be celebrated and encouraged.
I really wish more people go out and see this wonderful comedy or at least discover it somewhere down the road. I really think this would be a bigger hit like Role Models, if people realized how funny this movie was. See this movie, goddamnit!