Charmless comedy painfully short on jokes, starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston
The actors in Judd Apatow’s Comedy Stable™ have an unfortunate habit of lulling you into a false sense of security. They’ll star in a string of likeable comedies that manage to poke fun at their subject matter (unplanned pregnancy, 40 year old virgins) without being mean spirited about it. And then, every now and again, they’ll do the exact opposite. Seth Rogen did it in Observe and Report, the story of a mentally ill mall security guard; now Paul Rudd does the same with Wanderlust.
George (Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) are a New York yuppie couple who lose their overpriced ‘micro-loft’ when George loses his job and are forced to move in with George’s overbearing brother Rick (Ken Marino). When Rick’s brash insensitivity becomes too much, they find themselves retreating to a hippie commune run by the wheelchair bound Carvin (Alan Alda) and new age guru Seth (Justin Theroux), where they have to adjust to a new way of living.
Of all the characters in Wanderlust only the senile, tripped out Carvin is likeable (but to be fair, Alda can pull off likeable in his sleep) whilst George, Linda and Seth are abominations, changing loyalties and motivations on a whim and toiling through scenes with no chemistry and a smattering of uncomfortable laughs. This would be fine – Aniston herself did wonderful things with an abhorrent personality in Horrible Bosses – but the fact we’re also meant to root for these vacuous douchebags is a bit too much to bear.