Paul Rudd stands in front of a mirror and riffs a string of vulgar, not-very-funny euphemisms for the intercourse he plans to have with Malin Akerman in an outtake in Wanderlust's closing credits. It's part of any Judd Apatow production — raunchy, riffy runs, comic actors trying to top each other and what's in the script.
Only they're not funny. The the scene in the film isn't amusing either. And Rudd is easily the most experienced member of the Apatow Frat Pack in this cast. If he can't find the humor in this comedy about uptight New Yorkers who drop out on a Georgia commune, what chance do his castmates have?
Not much. Wanderlust, co-starring Akerman, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux and Alan Alda, is a random, tedious, tone-deaf comedy, feebly recycling every hippie commune cliché.
The Gergenblatts — George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) — are New Yorkers who lost their shirts and their studio apartment when George's financial company was shut down by the feds, his bosses thrown in prison. Linda, a 40ish sometime documentary filmmaker/children's book author and coffee-shop operator, has been no help, dabbling in a lot of careers, never settling on one or succeeding at any.
They pack their old Honda and go to stay with George's obnoxious porta-potty rental tycoon brother Rick (Ken Marino, who co-wrote the script) and Rick's self-medicating wife (Michaela Watkins). But on the way, George and Linda stumble across Elysium, a commune that operates a bed-and-breakfast. George is taken by it and drags them back to this community of organic farming, folk-singing, drug-using free-loving clichés. They live in a house with no doors and no privacy under the thumb of tuned-out guru Seth (Theroux), a Jesus-haired caricature.
The idea of rat-racers escaping to the simple life is as old as the movies, and co-writers David Wain and Marino bring two things to it: nudity — the full Monty, people — and crudity. Coming out on the heels of a major recession, this could cash in. But Wain (who directed) has nothing funny to say, and Marino can't find a laugh in front of or behind the camera.
Rudd, riffing away in the wilderness — or in that bathroom — can't rescue Wanderlust with zingers delivered off the top of his head. And Aniston has enough trouble finding a script with a laugh in it, making this her latest bad career choice.