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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In its earliest frames Wanderlust rips along, precision-aimed at the
credit crunch generation, nervous of the future and all-too-familiar
with the kind of real estate shyster who'll claim your prospective
purchase is not studio but micro-loft, but once you try to sell, says
it is not micro-loft, more unshiftable studio apartment.
But then things meander.
The leading couple George and Linda (Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston) end up implausibly comfortable, their days of free love and tripping at the Elysium commune concluded. Elsewhere the movie is a blur of bouncing body parts (you have to admire a production that de-clothes its entire cast, the sole exceptions allowed to stay covered being the hot young women), hippie idiocies and flecks of hypocrisy within idealism.
There is sporadic laugh-out-loud brilliance of observation: the guy back in New York texting George about a (non-existent) prospective high-paying job for a prank; the new money older brother (Ken Marino) only sheltering George and Linda in order to humiliate them, and the reinvigorated attitude of the TV folks to the casino development news story once the protesters on camera have removed their bras.
Is Wanderlust actually any good? Or is it just a morass of disparate comic sketches and flopping appendages?
Anyone offended by nudity should steer clear, as should anyone, indeed, seeking anything either sharply meaningful or full-on searingly amusing. For Wanderlust is neither of these. It never could be: it's too comfortable in its own skin, as useless at being purposeful as a cab driver who gabbles fascinatingly but will also make you miss your plane.
But yes, it is for anyone up for a chortle at hippiedom, who'll be fine with vast expanses of naked flesh, and who'll forgive the plot's unflinching lack of earnestness. Possibly the making of this flick carried overtones of something of a jokey commune - sorry, intentional community - in itself. If not, the bet is that some on-hoof improvisation was never far absent.