Wanderlust (15)

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd

Anthony Quinn
Friday 02 March 2012 01:00
Comments

At their best, Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd have an amiable comic charm, but they show no better instinct for picking a movie than they did 14 years ago opposite one another in The Object of My Affection.

Here they're a married couple, Linda and George, who've come a cropper in the recession, no sooner moving into their New York "micro-loft" than they're both out of work and heading south to stay with George's obnoxious brother. On the way they happen upon Elysium, a backwoods hippie commune where the welcome is so effusive that they decide to give the place a two-week trial as residents.

Director David Wain's script milks comic mileage from Rudd's straight-man reactions, bemused by the lack of privacy, dismayed by the awful coffee and horrified by Linda's sexual surrender to the beardy lothario Seth (Justin Theroux), who's already bested him, in the film's funniest scene, with a demonstration of his prowess on acoustic guitar. Alan Alda has a lively cameo as the commune founder who's been living the dream – and flouting the strict vegan diet – since 1971. But the longer it goes on the less enjoyable it becomes, with the counterpoint of spiritual fulfilment versus materialistic emptiness lost beneath an increasingly shrill and fatuous plot. Rudd bears the brunt of the comic improv, embarrassing himself in a straight-to-mirror exhortation to studliness – the film's giveaway of its origins in the Judd Apatow production stable.

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