Role Models (2008) director David Wain, returns with the much funnier and more entertaining Wanderlust (2012), which reunites comic actor Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston for the first time since Friends. Young couple George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) live in a tiny apartment in the West Village, New York, carrying out their busy urban lives full of ‘quaffee’, Blackberries and dull jobs – until, that is, they lose their home after George gets fired. Left homeless, the pair relocate to Elysium, a hippie commune full of nudist winemaking, writers and ex-pornstars.
Wanderlust is a complete tune-out affair, full of outrageous humour – ranging from a lot of nudity to jokes aimed at both hippie and yuppie clichés – that makes for entertaining, if unremarkable, viewing. Performances from both Rudd and Aniston are enjoyable, particularly Aniston who shows that at times she is capable of being genuinely funny, a fact severely jeopardised by her appearance in Horrible Bosses last year. More disappointing is Alan Alda – made famous for his turn as Hawkeye Pierce in 1970s US TV series M*A*S*H – who manages to miss the mark one too many times.
Another string to the film’s bow is its gentle treatment of issues born out of the global economic recession. Instead of focusing on the problems head-on, Wanderlust uses the issue as a foil to question lifestyle choices. Its critique of the ‘grass is greener’ attitude between urban and hippie culture makes for an enjoyable romp, exposing both sets of stereotypes effectively.
The film’s overt style of humour may prove divisive, so if lots of nudity, drug references and toilet humour are not your cup of tea, stay clear. Ultimately, Wain’s Wanderlust is silly, well-made nonsense with a light critique of what we should hold nearest and dearest in life – a great film for a night out with friends, but still not a patch on 2011’s first-rate gross-out comedy success Bridesmaids.