Wanderlust (2012)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Wanderlust</strong> (2012)

(On-demand video, July 2012) This mostly-innocuous mainstream Hollywood comedy may feel familiar, but it’s in the service of a decent film.  Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston star as a couple forced to leave New York after professional setbacks.  On their way to relatives in Atlanta, they discover a commune and are seduced in staying.  Of course, the reality of living in a commune doesn’t match their first impression… and there lie the laughs.  The rest may use (as is the norm with Judd Apatow-produced comedies) pervasive bad language and a few edgier moments, but let’s not fool ourselves: This is a classically-structured comedy, with the expected plot beats, character quirks and familiar humor that we’d expect from this kind of film.  Rudd and Aniston are fine (Rudd may be developing as the more dependable straight-man in comedies: it helps that he’s so effortlessly likable), but the laughs belong to the large number of quirky supporting characters.  Not every joke works (the film is marred by an overextended dirty-talk scene, flat references to outdated technology and an inability to cut away scenes on high notes) but much of the film is just good-natured enough not to mind.  While Wanderlust could have been better, faster and a bit less predictable, the end result is quite enjoyable, and will whittle away a nice evening as long as you have some tolerance for profanity and brief naturalistic nudity.

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