'Wanderlust' wanders a lot despite Aniston, Rudd

February 23, 2012 

Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd are George and Linda. Theirs is not a happy marriage.

She can’t settle on anything close to a career, and he’s supporting her. They buy an expensive postage-stamp size apartment in New York City. He gets fired. With no money, they lose their investment in the apartment. The only alternative is to move to Atlanta and live with his very obnoxious and self-centered brother, who has offered him a job.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

On the way to Atlanta, they get sidetracked and end up spending the night at a commune. They have a great time and enjoy the freedom. He’s struck by the choice of the people living there to live a simple life and be happy every day.

In Atlanta, the relationship with the brother deteriorates immediately, and the only alternative they have is the commune. She doesn’t want to. He does. Soon, the roles are reversed. She blooms for the first time in her life, and he’s stifled by the lack of privacy.

It’s a comedy. Aging hippies, however, just aren’t that funny.

Aniston and Rudd have great chemistry, and both are terrific comedians. The supporting cast is great, too. But writer/director David Wain and his co-writer Ken Marino (Role Models) don’t take their film anywhere funny. Apparently, there aren’t enough old hippie and nudist jokes to make a full movie, and the two writers couldn’t come up with anything fresh.

Justin Theroux’s (Your Highness) commune leader has the film’s only really funny lines. While pushing George and Linda to stay, he rails about the high cost of technology to the personality. He’s — however — about 20 years behind the times and makes references to Nintendo, pagers, etc.

It’s funny stuff — the first time.

The film’s main producer is Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad. That explains much of the plot’s the scatter-shot approach. As it ends up, Wanderlust is a perfect title. The film wanders all over the place and feels more like a series of Saturday Night Live skits set to a theme.

Only the skits just aren’t that funny.

Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars

Rated R for drug use, mature themes, male and female nudity. It opens Friday, Feb. 24 at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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