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Mineral Daily News-Tribune - Keyser, WV
  • Movie review: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston find lots of laughs in 'Wanderlust'

  • In "Wanderlust" Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd (“Dinner for Schmucks”) are a down-on-their luck married couple who find themselves holed up in a rural Atlanta hippie commune where they hope to reconnect with each other and escape their BlackBerry-filled Manhattan existence.

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  • In "Wanderlust" Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd (“Dinner for Schmucks”) are a down-on-their luck married couple who find themselves holed up in a rural Atlanta hippie commune where they hope to reconnect with each other and escape their BlackBerry-filled Manhattan existence.
    Easily a recipe for disaster with Aniston in the mix, especially after her ridiculous performance in “Horrible Bosses,” I was surprised the movie made me laugh more than I thought I would. And it wasn’t just at Rudd, who’s the funniest actor in movies right now. While Rudd has some great lines and some hysterical scenes clearly improvised, he is also propped up by some terrific supporting turns – namely Aniston (yes, I went there). Somehow the former “Friends” actress has found her comic mojo. And she goes for the jugular. Could it be because she shares a lot of scenes with real-life beau Justin Theroux? He’s Seth, the default twisted leader of Elysium, the “intentional community” that Rudd’s George and Aniston’s Linda land at after their lives fall apart. Linda becomes the apple of Seth’s eye – Natch.
    Directed by David Wain (“Role Models” with Rudd) and co-written by Wain and Ken Marino, who stars as George’s boorish brother, “Wanderlust” feels episodic as Rudd gets paired in sketches with each of the fantastic supporting players. The set-ups are the usual suspects – Truth Circles and a lot of hippies sitting around smoking pot, playing guitars, dancing, eating weird foods and drinking disgusting teas. You’ve seen it all before, but this cast makes its funny again.
    Malin Ackerman (“Couples Retreat”) is a gorgeous bohemian who wants to make “free” love to George. Joe Lo Truglio spends the entire film in the buff, leaving nothing (I mean nothing) left unseen, many times over.
    Kathryn Hahn, who stole every scene she was in with Rudd in the dysfunctional-family comedy “Our Idiot Brother,” does it again here. It was also nice to see Lauren Ambrose – from “Six Feet Under” fame – playing a pregnant flower child named Almond. Alan Alda even rolls in on a Lark scooter as the old founder of the group.
    Conflict arises when George decides he’s ready to re-enter the rat race and Linda wants to stay put. They’ll have to work through some of their issues. Plus, a casino developer tries to take the land their living on out from under them – with a twist, of course.
    The film’s major flaw is the unevenness of the script. It’s trying to be too much – raunchy and sweet, crude and cuddly. Which is the stamp of most Judd Apatow-produced projects. This however, isn’t up on the same level as a “Knocked Up.”
    It is entertaining and funnier than it should be, thanks to Rudd’s ability to be a comic chameleon – seamlessly jumping from subtle, ironic comedy to full-on slapstick and then back again. For those of us who are big Rudd fans, “Wanderlust” is a good fix until his next film “This is 40” – the spinoff to “Knocked Up” – comes out in December.
    Page 2 of 2 - The big winner in “Wanderlust,” however, is Aniston. She needed some role-redemption, and she earned it. It was refreshing to see her do comedy the way she used to do it. And while she and Rudd don’t light the screen on fire, they’re fun. Her rating slips a bit when the script calls for some drama, but the material isn’t the best to begin with.
    A warning, however, must be issued. There is a lot of nudity in “Wanderlust” – and not sexy nakedness. Aniston’s bare chest is blurred out in one scene. The other frames include stuff like chubby old men running and bouncing in the buff and other full-frontal shots of people you’d rather never see naked. (No offense.)
    In the end, “Wanderlust” – however uneven – does manage to find more than a few laughs.
    WANDERLUST - (R for sexual content, graphic nudity, language and drug use.) Cast includes Paul Rudd, Jennifer Anniston, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman, Alan Alda. 2.5 stars out of 4.
    Dana Barbuto may be reached at dbarbuto@ledger.com.

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