I finally rented Wanderlust. Now, you have to understand that I am a big Stella, The State, and Wet Hot American Summer fan. I also enjoy David Wain’s web series Wainy Days. On the other hand, his humor can easily wear thin and his stock jokes are few and often used. I’m not saying I’d prefer another Austin Powers. It’s just that such a great talent with solid comedic skills is slightly diminished in the feature film format. Role Models was good. The Ten was lost on me. Wet Hot American Summer was his Citizen Kane and it will never be topped.
Wanderlust has a couple of other things going for it, too. Some of the old cast from The State support the legendary Paul Rudd and the always nice to see Jennifer Aniston. These two are great together and are arguably the key to making the whole thing work. And it does work… but barely.
The movie starts out really strong and very, very funny as a married couple makes the big decision to buy a “micro-loft” in the East Village. In the same day each loses their current/potential income and they are forced to sell and move in with George’s (Rudd) brother Rick (co-writer Ken Marino). on they way, they become stranded and stay at a B&B which as it turns out is a wacky commune.
So, here come the spoilers. The set up is really, really great. But then, some of the characters try a little too hard to be quirky, some harboring ulterior motives, and the humor began to drop a bit. The inclusion of a plot to turn the land into a casino lacked pizzazz. If Michael Ian Black or Michael Showalter were more involved, a hilarious farce riffing on the cliché would ensue, but it was just a tactless way to give the story an end point. About halfway through the movie it stops being truly funny in spite of Paul Rudd being Paul Rudd. It comes together at the end though, just as hastily as the mal-intentioned characters began the conflict; And although it never reaches the cleverness and genuine wit, that it began with, it ends well enough to be worth watching. Still, you gotta go with WHAS. C+