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Wanderlust

Wanderlust

What She said:

She

Are you aching for a raunchy comedy with gratuitous nudity?  Then Wanderlust was made just for you.  Jennifer Aniston has been pushing her rom-com boundaries of late by committing herself to straight up raunch-fests, and this film will not disappoint.  And let me tell you, it’s nudity of both sexes, so prepare yourself. 

Ok, I’m going to try to get over that aspect of the film and give you some background.  Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd are married couple George and Linda.  They live in New York City and are trying to make the picture perfect lives for themselves.  George has worked his butt off to save enough money for them to even buy a micro-loft on the West Side.  In case you’re wondering, a micro-loft is essentially the same thing as a super tiny studio apartment.  Meanwhile, Linda is continually chasing her dreams, not really holding down a real job, but instead pursing lofty ambitions, most recently as a documentary filmmaker.  Their lives come crashing down then George loses his job.  The couple is forced to travel to Georgia to live with George’s jerk of a brother.  Along the way, they get lost and end up spending the night at a hippie commune called Elysium.  It’s a bizarre world where everyone makes up his or her own rules and basically spends all day singing, dancing, drinking, and getting high.  For George and Linda, it’s an awakening.  Is this the life they’ve actually dreamed of?

Wanderlust feels like a mix between Step Brothers and several Judd Apatow movies meshed together.  The characters are odd, and yet pretty funny, but you know that they probably don’t really exist.  The humor of the movie comes from the dynamic between George, Linda, and the members of the Elysium commune.  You’ll sympathize with George, grow to dislike Linda a little bit, and ask yourself, “What is wrong with these people?”  Where Wanderlust often falters is that it’s very preoccupied with pushing boundaries, so much so that sometimes the humor is lost.  Some jokes are also played out just a little too long as well.  Overall, though, it’s actually pretty funny, albeit horribly raunchy.  The nudity and language may be a bit much for a lot of people, and I’ll admit it made me uncomfortable a couple of times.  Interestingly, I caught myself watching Mulan a little later that night as a sort of penance for viewing Wanderlust.

Wanderlust walks the line between being enjoyable and just a bit too over-the-top.  I cannot say that I disliked it, which is why I’m giving it a marginally good review.

Thumbs mostly up.

What he said:

He

George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) and are the stereotypical NY couple. They live in a tiny - but expensive - apartment, love their coffee, and are all about their careers; though Linda's is always changing. Priorities change though when George - who is the main source of income - loses his job and the couple is forced to scale down. The plan is to temporarily set up shop with George's brother Rick (Ken Marino).

While on their way to Rick's home in Atlanta, the two stop to rest at a bed and breakfast called Elysium. They soon find out the Elysium is a hippie compound. It is owned by a man named Carvin (Alan Alda), but some dude named Seth (Justin Theroux). Though he refuses to acknowledge that he is in charge, Seth knows he is the one calling the shots around there. People come to him seeking advice and sometimes he even gives it when it's not asked for; as George and Linda will come to find out. Initially they experience a little culture shock, but since they're only staying the night, they decided to just have some fun and go with it. Despite the pleas of the residents, the couple is off on the road the next morning.

Before they know it, they are settling in with Rick - who makes Derrick form Step Brothers look nice - his alcoholic wife, and punk kid. As wonderful as that all sounds, they decide to pack it up and head back to...you guessed it, Elysium. George convinces Linda to stay there for two weeks and they will take it from there. Nudists, meditation, shared living, and drug-induced hallucinations; is this new lifestyle really for them?

Wanderlust was pretty funny in parts. There were times I audibly laughed and laughed hard. But like so many comedies, it just tries too damn hard at times. There are times where they might hang to a joke little too long and it might not be that funny to begin with. There are other times where it just tries to shock you. That can really go either way. Sometimes that works and you have a really funny bit, while others it amounts to nothing more than a joke that falls flat on its face.

I thought the movie actually started out quite strong, but got weaker as it went on. It was never particularly original, but at least early on it wasn't trying to hard. Still, it did give me a few laughs.

Rating: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on July 30, 2012.