Director: David Wain
Cast: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman and Alan Alda
Running Time: 98 minutes
Paul Rudd, boy oh boy, he really should know better. A romantic comedy albeit the new ruder and cruder Judd Apatow inspired type with Jennifer Aniston? Did alarm bells not ring? He was in Friends, right? In fact, he was basically the best thing in it for a while, and he had to share most of his scenes with Lisa Kudrow. That can’t have been easy.
In Wanderlust, Rudd sticks with his niche and plays an everyman whose occupation can be defined as “works in an office”. He tested it in Friends, molded it in Knocked Up and nailed it in I Love You, Man. This is completely fine because funnily enough, he’s exceptionally likeable and seems like a regular guy. Aniston plays his wife, an upstart filmmaker with ideals on a HBO series about penguins with testicular cancer. Hey, I guess that’s why they call it acting. After taking a plunge and buying a loft apartment in New York before the job market crashes, they decide their panacea lies in a free-loving, pot-smoking hippie commune. Modern day allegory or cautionary tale, what could it be?
Teaming again with Role Models director David Wain has seen Rudd yet again assume the role of Atlas, lugging a globe of comedic mediocrity on his shoulders. Jokes? They don’t come easily here, a mishmash of varying eccentricities from beatniks, mandatory peyote-induced hallucinations and the continuing trend of “dick in the face” gags are played for muted laughter. It says a lot of the supporting players that the film’s funniest moment is played out by Rudd alone in front of a mirror, psyching himself up with a scattering of chameleonic smut.
After shifting, ever so slightly, out of her comfort zone with her nymphomaniac dentist in Horrible Bosses last year, Aniston resorts back to romantic comedy autopilot, known more commonly as Rachel. Her one shining moment, a beautiful opportunity to take a pop at the quasi religious HBO, is terribly underdeveloped and overshot. Elsewhere, Justin Theroux continues to prove he needs to stop answering phone calls from director’s not named David Lynch while Malin Akerman follows in Aniston’s career as a desperate rom-com actress. Minus, you know, starring in the biggest comedy show of all time.
After Role Models, Our Idiot Brother (still unreleased in Ireland with good cause) and now Wanderlust, all movies with Rudd playing point and running the show, Rudd hammers it home that he’s at his absolute best when operating as a comedic wingman. Please revert back, Paul. Please.