Published February 24, 2012
Comedy, more than any other genre, is personal. What influences one person’s belly laugh could make the next person gag from repulsion. While everyone has their tastes and limits there must be a line when a film is so shameless in its lack of dignity and intellect and assumes the audience are just a bunch of rubes.
Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd’s new comedy – comedy in the sense of drawn out, unfunny gags – “Wanderlust” is an irrationally extended vulgar sketch routine that may not have even garnered laughs on "Saturday Night Live." It is the absolute antithesis to the days of great comedic films by the likes of Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, Mel Brooks - even the Zucker Brothers of "Airplane" fame.
Rudd and Aniston are great actors in their own right and they make a fine team here, but they have a doozy of a script to work from. The two play Manhattan couple George and Linda who fall on hard times and move to Georgia to seek support from George’s annoyingly obnoxious brother. On the way they rest at a commune called Elysium where hippies hippify open farmland, free love reigns, and cannabis is the meal of choice. The two at first become enamored with the lax and open lifestyle, but as living freaky and feeling trapped starts to irk George, he seeks a speedy exit.
Seemingly gone are the days of fantastic comedic dialogue. There isn’t one well thought out joke or intelligent quip in “Wanderlust.” The dialogue consists mainly of vulgarities spewed back and forth among some of Judd Apatow’s regulars, and senseless ramblings from the great Alan Alda.
Director David Wain sadly attempts laughs by relying heavily on flashing Joe Lo Truglio’s genitalia at any given moment or with slow motion shots of naked overweight elderly people running.
“Wanderlust” works overtime toward shock but wants to be a modern day “Porky’s.” The abrasive vulgarity and complete lack of comedic understanding in “Wanderlust,” however, makes that cult favorite look like Shakespeare.
Producer Judd Apatow is scraping the bottom of the barrel with “Wanderlust.” “Bridesmaids” this is not.