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Wanderlust DVD review


An amuising but flawed comedy from the writers of Role Models...

Wanderlust DVD review

With 2008's excellent Role Models under their belt, writing team David Wain and Ken Marino play it safe by returning to comedy and misfit characters in Wanderlust, starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd as a fast-living couple.

George (Rudd) is so busy that he's run over on the way to work, but continues on his way; entirely unphased. Back at home with wife Linda (Aniston), neither have the energy to get down to some dirty, passing out instead. When the FBI shut down the company George works for and HBO reject Linda's depressingly serious documentary about sickly penguins, they're forced to sell-up and leave New York, reluctantly going to Atlanta where George's brother, Rick, has a job vacancy.

Stopping on the way at Elysium B&B, they are confronted by a nudist and soon alerted to the fact they are indeed staying in a hippie commune, dating back to 1971. Refusing to accept payment for their night's stay, the commune members soon invite George and Linda to join their community. After several days of tolerating Rick, their offer seems more attractive but as the days pass roles reverse and their relationship is threatened.

Wain and Marino use their "intentional community" set-up to create predictable comic lines. Commune leader Seth (Justin Theroux), refuses to admit his own role and responsibility among the group, telling the newcomers "mother earth is the only leader". Other group members believe "monogamy is sexual slavery" while all have a far-out way of speaking: "It's going to be magically delicious".

Members of the community are endearing in their own way with particularly strong and comical performances from Kathryn Hahn as reformed porn star Karen, and Jo Le Truglio as nudist wine-maker and novelist Wayne. During the "truth circle" scene, Hahn is most entertaining, aggressively verbally attacking Linda: "If I wanted my face covered in lies, I'd have stayed in the porn industry". The hallucinogenic tea sequence that follows is to be expected but amusing nonetheless. As the film comes to a climax, the nudist winemakers' convention is particularly inspired and ripe with well-used comic potential.

Outside the commune, humour is less effective with plenty of unfunny moments that were clearly meant to have audiences howling. The montage of George and Linda's car journey is mildly entertaining but scenes involving Rick and his wife fall flat. Before we even meet Rick, we're bracing ourselves, having already been introduced to George's vile infuriating sibling via a video webcam. His "porta-potty" rental business is clearly meant to amuse, as is his unhinged wife. While he manages to merely remain annoying, she at least grows as a character, earning our sympathy and respect. Rudd practising arousing phrases in front of a mirror is equally painful to watch and Alan Alda's repetitive tale of the nine friends he bought the house with is nothing more than repetitive.

Wain and Marino play Wanderlust for laughs, featuring an impossibly easy childbirth scene and a fittingly jokey end masquerading as reality. Although Wanderlust is no Role Models, zany but likeable commune members and the film's more serious human message save it from sinking to obscurity beneath wave after wave of flailing gags.

3 stars

Special Features:

  • Gag Reel
  • Deleted Scenes

If you're a fan of bonus materials you won't be impressed with this DVD release that unimaginatively merely includes a gag reel and deleted scenes. A few of the deleted scenes could quite easily have been included in the film while others were wisely edited out. If you're left hankering for more, go for the Blu-ray Combo Pack that features additional commentaries, behind the scenes and featurettes.


Director: David Wain

Writer: David Wain, Ken Marino

DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: June 25, 2012

Label: Universal Pictures UK

Running Time: 98 mins

Certificate: 15

Starring: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, Alad Alda, Malin Akerman


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