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Wanderlust - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: B
Cinematography: B
Editing: B+

Sometimes you just want to have fun. Isn't that what going to the movies is about? Sure, Wanderlust isn't the best comedy ever made, or even the best one this year, but you could certainly do worse. I honestly don't understand the declarations that this movie sucks. There are things that could have been done better, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it. Flaws and worthiness are not mutually exclusive.

As always with comedies, the bottom line is: is it funny? I say yes. I laughed a great deal. Okay, I didn't hurt myself laughing. I didn't laugh my ass off. But I've seen plenty of comedies -- even decent ones -- at which I only laughed intermittently. The laughs here are consistent and satisfying. Unlike in, say, This Means War, the humor rarely falls flat.

The script, co-written by director David Wain (Role Models), is merely good. But there's something to be said for delivery. Jennifer Aniston in particular is having a good year. After years of schlock that fails to showcase her talents, she turned heads -- in a good way -- in last summer's Horrible Bosses, and continues an apparently new trend in Wanderlust. She actually seems kind of cool again, for the first time since she was seen in Office Space.

And it's not really that her personality has changed. It's that she's chosen better projects. Also, she has workable chemistry with Paul Rudd, and they make a nicely believable couple of uptight New Yorkers who lose their jobs (or, in Aniston's case, the opportunity for a job), and have to move out of the city. Most of the charms in Wanderlust are derived from visual gags relating to where they are, like Rudd getting hit by a New York cab but just sliding off the other side of the hood and continuing to walk while talking on his cell phone. Then, when they stop for a night at an apparent bed & breakfast in Georgia, the appearance of a nudist makes them panic.

Now, I realize both of these examples were already seen in the trailer, and there's always the fear that the trailer contains all the best parts of a movie. But these examples really embody the spirit of the entire movie, which, unlike most modern comedies, never hits a lull. It's tightly edited and always entertaining. Okay, yes, the ending is too tightly tied up in a pretty bow, but so what? No one comes to a movie like this expecting gritty realism. All it has to be is just real enough to be a fun story to be told. And Wanderlust does that.

What's more, when Rudd and Aniston find themselves living in a commune (or, the apparently more PC "intentional community"), the hippie-types are not skewered in any nasty way, but lovingly satirized. Hard-biting satire has its place, but it wouldn't have worked in this case. There's really nothing particularly negative about the humor here, and that's really why it works. Sitting through Wanderlust is a positive experience. Maybe it's not particularly long-lasting in memorable impact, but this movie is neither totally brainless nor heavy-handed in moralism or wholesomeness. It's just light-hearted fun. Sometimes that's all you're asking for -- just to have a good time at the movies, without having your intelligence insulted. This movie is up to the task.

Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston make the most out of an ailing economy -- and orange peel glued to a stick -- in WANDERLUST.

Overall: B+
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