Directed by: David Wain | 114 minutes | comedy | Actors: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Malin Akerman, Justin Theroux, Ray Liotta, Kathryn Hahn, Lauren Ambrose, Alan Alda, Michaela Watkins, Joe Lo Truglio, Linda Lavin, Kerri Kenney, Patricia French, Todd Barry, Jordan Peele, Keith Allen Hayes, John D’Leo, Joel Rogers, Martin Thompson, Frank Scozzari
In recent years, the group around producer Judd Apatow has made enough funny comedies – no pleonasm, because not always so obvious – to have their audience ready for each new creation. Whether “Wanderlust” will belong to Apatow’s classics, such as “Bridesmaids” and “Knocked Up”, is the question, because here and there the film lacks the refined elaboration of the previous successes. But because of the fine cast and crew, gleaned from the various comedies over the years for which Apatow wrote or produced, “Wanderlust” is certainly entertaining.
The wafer-thin story will not disturb many people either, because a lot is done with the simple plot point (two yuppies from New York end up in a hippie commune). Unfortunately, the chemistry between Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston is often hard to find, while the two come into their own better independently. The memory of the last seasons of the extremely popular television series “Friends” was perhaps not a happy one. But supplemented by Alan Alda and Justin Theroux, there is plenty to laugh about, especially when the possibilities of the hippie commune are explored. And so we come across a nudist, a former porn actress and many people without borders; they may be clichés that Apatow and his colleagues have tapped to base their film on, but they know how to use them. The entire cast will be given ample room to improvise and show their characters lavishly, and Jennifer Aniston in particular will have been delighted to be able to jump out of the band once, unlike her ever-restrained characters in romantic comedies. Paul Rudd, on the other hand, has gradually become one of the more famous comedy stars of the moment, and is often visibly more at ease, although Theroux and Alda are stealing the show as the leader of the hippie commune and the now elderly founder.
All in all, “Wanderlust” is an entertaining comedy from the Apatow stable – nice, but not very special – and makes you curious about what he has in store for the coming years.