Role Models was a surprise cross-over hit for the team behind the cult comedies Wet Hot American Summer and The Ten, so our expectations were pretty high for their latest outing. Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston play uptight New Yorkers George and Linda who are forced to move to Atlanta when he’s fired. On the way they stop at Elysium bed and breakfast, a commune (or “intentional community”). Can they put their city ways behind them and embrace a madcap hippy lifestyle, and do they really want to?
While Wanderlust isn’t as funny as Role Models, there is plenty to enjoy here. Rudd is terrific as George, eager to open up and try new things before realising that these new things may not be for him. It’s a role that gives him plenty of opportunity to showcase his ability to combine bizarre improvisation as well as cynical joy-killing. Faring less well is Aniston, who sadly doesn’t stray too far from her usual persona. It’s not a bad performance by any means, but it’s not strong enough to make her stand out in a cast full of on-form character actors. Special notice must be given to Justin Theroux (Mulholland Drive) as hairy guru Seth who’s still making snide references to a corporate world from several decades ago, and Kerri Kenney-Silver (Role Models) as a well-intentioned but intrusive Elysium member, while Joe LoTruglio, Kathryn Hahn, Jordan Peele, Lauren Ambrose, Ken Marino, Michaela Watkins, and Alan Alda each get a chance to shine.
But it’s all a bit slight. Although it doesn’t drag during its brief running time, there’s not really a lot to it beyond the fish-out of water setting and giving the ensemble free rein. It’s enjoyable, if not particularly memorable.
Another great comic performance from Rudd and an excellent supporting cast make Wanderlust a fun journey. It may not be their best but it’s certainly entertaining.