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I like the idea of this film a whole lot better than the actual execution. The concept is there is a talented cast present, but the script is so severely lacking that you walk away from this feeling very underwhelmed. This is supposed to be a wacky R rated comedy and the most glaring problem with the script is that they forgot to include actual jokes that are funny.
I cringed through a lot of scenes in this thing because not only are the vast majority of jokes unfunny but they also drag on for way too long which makes it even worse. I wish the material was fresher because Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston deserve better.
The concept of a stressed out recently down on their luck city couple coming upon a commune and getting entangled in it is a winning idea for a film, that’s for sure. There’s a way to make either a comedy or a drama or a thriller out of that idea. There’s plenty of options. I would watch any film about people getting involved in a hippie commune just because I think it’s interesting, but like I said, this comedy just doesn’t know how to be funny.
The problem isn’t complex at all, the script’s jokes just don’t land. I think I laughed about 3 different times and they weren’t even hardy laughs, more like chuckles. There was a lot of “comedy” that I just reacted to with a stone face because it wasn’t funny but then there were several scenes with long dragged out gags that I just cringed through.
There’s a sequence in which a character is trying to hype himself up to sleep with someone and it’s so painful and unfunny and way overlong. Then directly after that things are only made worse by a scene where he’s there with her on the bed still trying to hype himself up. It’s like watching really awful improve. I just kept hoping it would end but it kept on going for so long… pull the ripcord!
Another issue here is that this film tries to have some kind of feeling and depth at a certain point and it falls flat. There’s no real effort to get us to like any of these folks so it’s kind of hard to care that much about what happens to them. The hippies they meet at the commune increasingly show themselves to be pretty awful people who just gradually pissed me off more and more. If the ways in which they behaved terribly were funny then it would be a different story.
There’s a whole lot of comedy here that revolves around characters just being assholes and saying mean things to others and that can be funny, but here it’s just not. The mean comments are never cloaked in clever jokes so it’s just people acting like jerks and it gets real old real fast.
This kind of thing is especially true every time Ken Marino is onscreen. His character is a through and through jerk in every possible way and his comedic material never lands, not once. I felt conflicted because I think Ken Marino is very handsome and I have a little crush on him, but nevertheless his stuff is so strained and unfunny in this film.
Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston do a decent job as the leads, they’re professionals and always try their best despite the material. Alan Arkin also does a pretty good job; him and Aniston share a nice scene towards the end of the film. The rest of the cast is just ok to be honest, but it’s not their fault really because the writing for their characters is so weak.
I didn’t laugh at anything from Jordan Peele or Justin Theroux and I only laughed once at something Kathryn Hahn said. Malin Akerman looks absolutely radiant here but unfortunately all she gets to do is be a woman that Rudd’s character is attracted to and may or may not sleep with.
Unfortunately, there’s just not much at all about this film that I actually liked. I only chuckled a few times and it certainly didn’t charm me in any way and none of the characters are particularly interesting. Oh and there’s also a slow motion full frontal shot of elderly naked people running that I really really did not need to see…..
Wanderlust is a misguided comedy film that has no actual comedy in it. It’s a shame because this really is a capable cast.
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