The hippy-dippy fakes

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

HOL­LY­WOOD KNOWS your pain. That’s why Wan­der­lust casts Jen­nifer Anis­ton and Paul Rudd as hip young Man­hat­tan­ites with a mi­cro-loft and macro-neg­a­tive eq­uity.

Broke and bick­er­ing, the cou­ple is re­duced to re­lo­cat­ing to At­lantic City, where he finds em­ploy­ment at his thug­gish older brother’s Por­taloo busi­ness. Might there be a bet­ter way? Might life not be eas­ier in a Ge­or­gia com­mune peo­pled by dropouts, ve­g­ans and nud­ists?

There’s a de­cent com­edy to be built around stressed-out yup­pies em­brac­ing the ex­trem­i­ties of the mind, body and spirit con­tin­uum. Un­hap­pily, Wan­der­lust, a hal­farsed com­edy that proves just as shaggy and ram­shackle as the folks it seeks to satirise, is not that movie.

Sure, there’s amuse­ment to be had around the mar­gins with Alan Alda’s ac­ci­den­tal guru and Lau­ren Am­brose’s dotty flower child. But for most of the du­ra­tion the film is just not funny enough or, in­deed, funny at all.

The un­der­de­vel­oped hip­pie cast makes you think of lesser Mike My­ers of­fer­ings, The Love Guru and The Cat in the Hat. The jokes gen­er­ally re­call Hol­ly­wood’s 1960s at­tempts to get down with the coun­ter­cul­ture, such as I Love You, Alice B. Tok­las and The Guru. What’s that, Malin Akerman? You want free love? What’s that, Bob Hope? You want your free love gags back?

One se­quence fea­tur­ing Rudd prac­tis­ing his pro­fane se­duc­tion tech­nique drags on for a pur­ga­to­rial du­ra­tion. The bit doesn’t get any bet­ter with tor­tur­ous rep­e­ti­tion. Who knew?

David Wain, the di­rec­tor be­hind Role Mod­els and Wet Hot Amer­i­can Sum­mer, brings a puerile, pot­ty­mouthed flair to this lack­lus­tre Apa­tow pro­duc­tion. Anis­ton and Rudd, de­spite the er­ratic script, reprise pre­vi­ous Anis­ton and Rudd pair­ings from Friends and The Ob­ject of My Af­fec­tion with aplomb.

But even be­fore the mad­den­ingly smug faux-bo­hemian de­noue­ment, we’ve turned off and tuned out. Bummer.


The big chill-out: Paul Rudd, Jen­nifer Anis­ton, Justin Th­er­oux, Malin Akerman dis­cover their in­ner flower childs in Wan­der­lust Di­rected by David Wain. Star­ring Paul Rudd, Jen­nifer Anis­ton, Justin Th­er­oux, Ken Marino, Malin Akerman, Lau­ren Am­brose, Alan Alda

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