Movie Review: Wanderlust

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+

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Movie Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

My first impressions of The Odd Life of Timothy Green was that it was okay.  I didn’t feel inspired, or have the kind of emotional response I expected.  Still, there wasn’t really anything blatantly awful or annoying that ruined it for me.*  I didn’t love it, or particularly hate it, and I thought it had a few really nice scenes.

After giving it some time to settle, I realized I did not like the movie at all.  It has a promising concept that rests on that old “Disney magic'” we’ve come to love and accept.  So when a kid grows out of the ground over night for a desperate couple who’ve planted a box full of their fantasy child’s dream qualities, you just go with it.  Unfortunately, for as much heart as the little boy has, the film lacks depth and feels empty.

Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner play a couple that can’t conceive.  They want to adopt and at an evaluation they pin all of their hope on this story that they have to tell about Timothy.  Now, on the night that they found out that their last-ditch effort to have a kid failed, they decided that before they gave up, they would write down everything that their kid would have been.  They plant a box full of these notes, a storm comes and out pops Timothy.

Timothy is a cute kid, played very nicely by CJ Adams.  Girls are going to love him.  This kid is everything they wanted but he grows leaves on his legs, which means they not only suddenly have a kid they need to explain to their small town, but they have a secret to hide.  This is where things start to deteriorate for me.  Possible spoilers ahead.  Continue reading