Wanderlust (12/31/12)

WanderlustMovie Three Hundred One

After losing both their jobs and expensive New York City condo, a couple gets Wanderlust and decides to live in a rural commune.

George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) are buying a very expensive micro-loft in New York City but after Paul loses his job and Linda’s documentary about penguin testicular cancer doesn’t get picked up by HBO, the couple is forced to leave. At first they decide to stay with George’s brother, Rick (Ken Marino), in Atlanta, but on the trip down they stumble on a strange commune in the middle of nowhere. After flipping their car over, they spend the night and are greeted with open arms by the members and their leader, Seth (Justin Theroux). With no prospects back in New York or Georgia, George and Linda decide to stay but the lifestyle takes some adjustment for them.

I will admit that Wanderlust looked pretty awful from the trailers (and the completely awful cover art pictured above) but the film kind of surprised me in that I didn’t completely hate it. Paul Rudd has been one of my favorite comedic actors for some time and I’m usually keen to see whatever movie he’s starring in, with varying degrees of success. Wanderlust is a pretty dismal film, most of the humor falls completely flat, but it’s better than I expected.

For the most part, Wanderlust kind of reminds me a lot of the animated TV show King of the Hill. The humor is kind of the same low-key, easy to miss dry wit that doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to single sittings. Much of Wanderlust feels like it was written scene by scene and then pasted together, but it’s not like the comedy genre usually asks much in terms of plot. There is one scene near the end that is completely out of place and goes on far too long, with Rudd talking to himself in a mirror. To be honest, I was embarrassed for the poor guy by the end of that scene.

The other thing that kind of works against Wanderlust is that there are no characters I connected with. We all get restless and want change in our lives, but Rudd and Aniston seem a bit too old to be pulling the kinds of things their characters do. I will say that, as a comedic actress, Aniston always surprises me with her timing. She is better than a lot of people give her credit for. While I would likely never watch Wanderlust again, it’s not the complete mess I was expecting. I laughed at a fair amount of the jokes and the film kept me entertained enough not to turn it off.

I give it 3 “money literally buys nothing” out of 5.

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Our Idiot Brother (1/10/12)

Our Idiot BrotherMovie Four

Our Idiot Brother is another movie where the title tells you everything you need to know about the premise. As a long-time Paul Rudd fan I had mixed feelings about this movie going in. I had mixed feelings after watching it as well.

Basically, Paul Rudd plays a loveable idiot who is the brother to three completely unlikable girls who treat him like shit. It’s not even fair to call Rudd an idiot because he’s not, he’s mostly just naive and trusting. After the other characters are introduced the only character I wanted to like was Rudd.

To make things worse, everyone in the movie seems to hate Rudd for no reason. Sure, he has a history of bad decision making but his heart is in the right place. The only guy that seems to “get him” is the guy currently dating Rudd’s ex.

Even though I’m griping on it, everything comes together in the end and the bitchy sisters realize they are terrible people and help their brother out. No real lessons learned or anything, it’s not a real redemption, just a nice ending to a movie.

If you’re a fan of Rudd’s work, stick with just about anything else he’s ever done but Our Idiot Brother is probably worth watching. If you’re not a fan, avoid the movie because he’s the only thing that really works in it.

I give it 3 photoshopped golden retrievers (just look at that cover art) out of 5.

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