2008’s effective sleeper hit “Role Models” was a nifty comedy with an offbeat personality. Pity then that director David Wain’s follow-up “Wanderlust” is such a turkey. The narrative follows a professional couple (portrayed by Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston) from New York, who after an unfortunate financial downturn arrive at a rural commune. The place is thronged with hippy dippy types, and whilst the city slickers are initially charmed by the simpler way of life, they have to ponder if an extended stay will threaten their personal outlooks and relationship?Paul Rudd is usually a pointed and hysterical protagonist, but in “Wanderlust” his ranting improvisations are more miss than hit, Wain struggling to focus the actor’s talents satisfactorily. Equally as underwhelming is Aniston, no stranger to bad career choices, but following her splendid turn in last summer’s “Horrible Bosses” one had anticipated the actress might be rediscovering her mojo. On the back of “Wanderlust” that was a false hope. Not only is she left floundering with bland material, the actress also struggles to even vent her dependable girl next door allure. It’s a dull performance for a dull movie.
Only Katherine Hahn (an aggressive naturalist who gets a few choice lines) and Ken Marino (Rudd’s hyper macho and belligerent sibling) make any positive impact, the rest of a large ensemble failing to make much of the scattershot and uninventive screenplay (penned by Wain and Marino incidentally). At 98 minutes “Wanderlust” is protracted to a painful extent, the premise is inherently one joke, so why the filmmakers felt that singular gag should be stretched past an hour and a half is beyond me. It’s a bust, lacking heart, charm, insight but most importantly laughs.It tanked catastrophically at the box-office earlier this year. I’m betting Aniston and Rudd are both okay with that; the less people exposed to this dreary misfire the better.