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.
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.
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: