Dropout from society comedy has some outrageous spontaneity. Wanderlust pits Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston together as a believable New York couple who fall out after a bad investment (it’s very funny to hear them describe their condo as a “micro-loft”). Rudd loses his job, and Aniston cannot sell her depressing penguin documentary to HBO. They drive down to Atlanta to find some work but get detoured at a free love commune out in the sticks. Smart humor is certainly apparent, but it goes for the broad, stupid stuff as well. Still, it is a constant tumbler of laughs, yuks and sex.
It’s from the brash politically incorrect makers of “Role Models” (2008), another Rudd comedy directed by David Wain and part of a Judd Apatow production. It’s raunchy and bawdy, with humor on the lines of “Can you get your dick out of my face?” I laughed harder during the scenes where our hapless hero is confused about how his car got in the mote. He knows who, he just can’t get an intelligent answer.
Our perky but distraught heroes George and Linda try to go legit for a few minutes, but are seduced by the idea of returning to the commune. Justin Theroux (“Mulholland Dr.”) and Malin Akerman (“The Heartbreak Kid”) form free love challenges to the neophyte couple. Can you guess who experiments with whom first? The feature contains obvious typecasts and yet they are very good, particularly Alan Alda as the property elder whose short-term memory causes him to repeat names endlessly.
To pry in a plot aggravation, land developers want to take over and build a casino. This would be solved immediately, but all the characters are too stoned to find the property deed to prove they are rightful landowners. It’s that kind of comedy, but it does have fleeting moments of astute satire. Rudd continues to be an infallibly charming leading man. Aniston continues to prove why she’s one of today’s hottest stars, she’s picture perfect as both a sex symbol and comedienne.
98 Minutes. Rated R.
COMEDY / CRUDE HUMOR / FRIDAY DATE NIGHT
Film Cousins: “Together” (2000, Sweden); “A Mighty Wind” (2003); “Role Models” (2008); “Taking Woodstock” (2009).