I saw “Wanderlust” this weekend as sort of an afterthought. There were two movies that I wanted to see more but due to some scheduling difficulties I ended up going to “Wanderlust.” I was not disappointed in the least. If you thought “Role Models” was funny and could use a good laugh, I’d recommend you give this movie a shot.
If I had to compare the two, I’d say that “Wanderlust” succeeds where “Role Models” was lacking, as well as dominates in the area that could be considered the bread and butter of “Role Models.” I rarely ever laugh out loud during movies. “Role Models” took me to that level on certain occasions, while “Wanderlust” had me whipping the tears of laughter out of my eyes so I would be sure not to miss the next moment of hilarity.
“Role Models” failed for me in the ability to draw believable characters whose trials I could grow to care about. Frankly, while the movie was hilarious, it wasn’t funny enough to compensate for the fact that I didn’t care at all what was going to happen to Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott in the end. I didn’t care about their “personal growth” because I thought they were lame characters who had nowhere to go but up anyway.
In “Wanderlust,” George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) also have nowhere to go but up. They are barely treading water trying to live the prototypical “New York lifestyle,” overextending their budget for a studio apartment scarcely bigger than your average FDU dorm room, in the West Village.
George is humping a job at an unethical company and ends up getting fired by his boss as the FBI takes him away in handcuffs after raiding the office. Linda, after a myriad of other failed business endeavors, is trying her best to pitch a documentary film featuring a penguin with testicular cancer to HBO. She fails miserably and before they can even get comfortable in their new apartment they are beyond their means and forced to leave the city.
On their way down to Atlanta, where George is planning on taking a job with his d-bag brother Rick (Ken Marino), the couple decides to call it a night and shack up at a bed and breakfast, which also turns out to be some sort of a commune.
As a result of this one-night stay, George and Linda are subjected to the absurd antics of all of the members of the commune, and are enthralled and unnerved at the same time. The free living commune lifestyle presents them with a stark contrast to the life they were just coming from, and this underlying plot element drives the story forward until the very end where it is tied together smoothly.
Other actors that deserve an immense amount of credit for the movie’s sensational humor are Aniston’s new beau Justin Theroux (Seth); Kerri Kenney-Silver (Kathy), who is probably best known for portraying Officer Trudy Wiegel on Comedy Central’s “Reno 911!”; and Kathryn Hahn (Karen) who played the role of Alice, Derek’s wife, in the movie “Step Brothers.”
“Wanderlust,” a Judd Apatow production, capitalizes in the way that Apatow’s films have achieved such notoriety for. They portray believable characters with conceivable problems, and watching these types of people navigate through the ridiculousness of an Apatow movie is almost as enjoyable as the brilliant comedy you observe.
In terms of off-the-wall humor, few movies in my recent memory could hold a candle to “Wanderlust.”