Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Movie Review: Wanderlust (R - 98 minutes)

Comedies are notoriously more difficult to put together than dramas.    My favorite comedy of all time?  Tough to say, but I've always been partial to ZAZ pieces, in particular, Top Secret and Hot Shots.  Also, Clerks and Mallrats make me laugh out loud.  But, to be honest, I've always preferred my comedy with something extra mixed in....action, sci-fi, etc.  For example, Ghostbusters, Evolution, Big Trouble in Little China, Bad Boys, Bend it Like Beckham, and Rush Hour.  Comedies with something extra.  What makes a good comedy?  In my opinion, the ability to make me laugh out loud, and then make me say to other people, "hey, you should see this - it's funny!"  Wanderlust made me giggle out loud, and made me say to people, "yeah, it was kinda funny - you might like it, but don't pay full price."
Wanderlust is the latest offering from director David Wain.  Wain also did Role Models, the Adult Swim show Children's Hospital, wrote for Mad TV, and was part of the comdey group "Stella".  Role Models, in case you forgot about it, was a really funny movie from 2008 starring Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott and two guys forced to participate in a "Big Brothers" style program.
It was equal parts hilarious and inappropriate.  Thus, hopes were high for Wanderlust...which I would say was also equal parts hilarious and inappropriate....
Plot:  A relatively uptight New York couple suddenly becomes unemployed and has to give up the apartment they just purchased.  Finding themselves out of money and out of home, they head down to live with his brother temporarily in Atlanta.  On the way - they stop at a "Bed and Breakfast" that actually turns out to be a free-love style farming commune.  Inspired by the simple way the hippies live, and horrified at his brother's life, they decide to give the commune a try.  Hijinks ensue.
The movie is populated with friends of Wain & Co.  Co-writer Ken Marino is cringe-worthy but good as the brother - in essentially the same role he played in Role Models - but hey, as a writer, you don't have to have a ton of acting range.  Michaela Watkins, formerly of SNL, plays his bitter and subliminally funny wife.  Paul Rudd makes everything he's in better (Role Models, I Love You Man, 40 Year Old Virgin, and he was the most watchable part of Knocked Up) and is really funny in this as well.  Jennifer Aniston - who, for the record, is good at comedy (if you haven't seen Horrible Bosses see it now, the only person funnier than Rudd is Jason Bateman).  In case you had forgotten, Jennifer Aniston starred in a comedy sketch show called The Edge back in 1992.
It was a predecessor to MadTV and was big time funny.  So I'm not surprised she's funny in this movie.  Her timing and reacting skills are great.  This was going to be the movie with her big topless scene, and it's pretty obvious in the movie where it would have been, but apparently she changed her mind and asked for it to be cut.  Justin Theroux, who was most recently seen on Parks and Rec and was the dude with the terrible Irish accent in Charlie's Angels 2 (oh, you didn't see that?  right, me neither...and I surely don't own it...) and who co-wrote Tropic Thunder, hams it up as the commune leader.  If you're interested in this type of nonsense - Aniston and Theroux are now dating after shooting this movie together.  Alan Alda plays himself, just older and forgettier, and on a scooter.  Jordan Peele (if you're not watching Key and Peele on Comedy Central Tuesday nights - immediately catch up on it. It is fantastic) steals a bunch of scenes as one of the commune members.  Everyone who makes up the commune is memorable and some are fairly notable from other things:  Kerri Kenney from Reno 911; Kathryn Hahn who you've seen a bunch of times, most recent on Parks and Rec; Malin Ackerman from Couples Retreat (don't see that), the Proposal (see that) and the nightmare that was Watchmen (that's three plus hours I'm never getting back), and Joe LoTruglio who was in Role Models and steals pieces of this movie as a happy go lucky nudist-author-winemaker, because why not?
The time spent at the commune is filled with pretty typical hippie-humor pieces:  guitar playing and singing, drug use, skinny dipping, home-births, free-love, and nature-communing.  However, the skill level of the comedic actors in this movie elevates the bits beyond their typical "yeah, that's kinda funny" to "hey! that's funny!".  Wain has also perfected the tatic of letting a joke go so long it goes from funny, to really awkward and running on too long, to back to funny.  This only works with actors who are willing to keep running with a joke way past funny, through awkward, until they hit funny again.  My favorite bit is after Rudd steals Marino's car, Marino runs after him up the street.  It's funny, then you're thinking, "wow, this is really going on for a while", then it keeps going and I found myself cracking up again as he continued running up the street.
The main drawback of a movie like this is that you'll notice I kept referring to the actors and not the names of the characters.  To be honest - I don't remember any of the characters names - it's almost not important.  The movie very much plays as a bunch of friends hanging out together and being funny.  Maybe that's not a drawback, maybe that's why I liked it.
7 out of 10.
Lost points for the birthing scene (really? did we need that?).  Gained points for the "cut to - in the pond" scene, still funny after being ruined in the previews.  Lost points for the movie Aniston attempts to sell to HBO - yikes, and for not using enough Keegan Key.  Gained points for letting Paul Rudd go in the mirror for far too long - til it became funny again.  Lost points from the slow motion running of a crowd of nudists...old nudists.  Gained points for all the books at the end - and for the secret to any movie - outtakes over the end credits.
Here's a bonus bit of Key and Peele being hilarious:

1 comment:

  1. Good review. Wanderlust was pretty uneven but there were actually many moments where I couldn’t stop but laugh at mainly because of this great cast. Let me also not forget to mention the one scene where it’s just Paul Rudd improving for about 3 minutes all by himself. That was definitely worth the price of admission.