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It’s a 'Wanderful' Life

Dave doesn’t mind the gross-out humor in this one.

In Wanderlust, art imitates life, in that Paul Rudd (George) and Jennifer Aniston (Linda) feel the aftereffects of a still-smoldering recession. It’s a fun movie that tends to plod, but overall it’s an enjoyable picture — if you don’t mind the f-bombs and sexually loose themes (it’s rated R).

The couple buys a tiny New York City apartment (jokingly referred to as a “microloft”), but are soon sent packing to the suburbs of Atlanta when George’s office is busted by the FBI and he loses his job.

They stumble into a commune one night on the way to Atlanta, and they return semipermanently after a failed attempt to cohabitate with George’s brother in Georgia.

The commune is loosely led by a Mansonian Seth (Justin Theroux) and the patriarch-ish Carvin (a wonderfully crusted Alan Alda). There, free love is practiced (amongst other vaguely ‘60s-era mindsets), while the inhabitants are portrayed as vegan weirdos gulping hallucinogenic tea and participating in “truth circles.”

Of course the outcome here is predictable, but along the way we’re treated to plenty of communal wackiness, from natural foods to natural childbirth. Oh yeah, we’re also treated to plenty of full frontal male nudity (Judd Apatow produced this one — the gross-out king who brought us Bridesmaids).

In one memorable scene, George delivers a sexual pep talk to himself in the mirror that would make 1980s shock comedian Andrew Dice Clay blush. Stick around for the credits — there’s footage of Paul Rudd cracking himself up at this blue soliloquy.

I did chuckle out loud during parts of Wanderlust, probably more so than in most of the comedies I’ve seen thus far.

Product placement protocol

Apple, HBO, Monster.com.

Quotable moments

“That’s how much you made last year — $800.” — George, to Linda

“My name’s Wayne by the way. I’m a nudist.” — Wayne

“Just remember, money buys you nothing.” — Carvin

“Come on! Gesticulate with me!” — Seth 

Obligatory Who reference

Two vehicles wind up in the commune swamp, a clear reference to Keith Moon’s 21st birthday party in Flint, Mich., during which the birthday boy, stark naked, drove a Lincoln Continental into the swimming pool.

Other obvservations at the moviehouse

  • I can dig car commercials before a movie, even appliance store commercials. But I spat out my popcorn Sunday when the killer Jason, of the Friday the 13th franchise, was enlisted to help sell … an investment company?
  • Rock of Ages, a Broadway musical that thankfully never made it to Chicago, is coming to the big screen near you. The all-star hirsute cast, awash in Aqua Net hairspray, is headed up by Alec Baldwin.
  • The upcoming Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a feel-good comedy about the apocalypse starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. Certain gloom and doom never made me laugh so hard.

Check out another take on Wanderlust, courtesy of contest winner and reader Katherine Hunnicutt.

Flora Dora February 28, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Sounds creepy to me! I think I will skip this one. Thanks fot the review, Dave.
Dave Wilson February 28, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Thanks for the comment, Dorothy!
Bob Jonas February 28, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Saw the movie over the weekend. It was slightly entertaining but nothing I would pay to see again. Probably would not even watch it again for free on HBO or Showtime.
Nurslawzak March 04, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Yet another interesting review, thanks Dave. Paul Rudd appears to have developed a successful persona in his past few films created from a blend of cool, honest, clever and clumsy. I just hope Hollywood don't over expose him. It easy to get burnt out on a good comedian actor once they start churning out 8 films a year.

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