'Director David Wain flip-flops between comfortable - if boring - Rom Com and loosely offensive Sex Comedy, meandering between tones and notes as vacuous as a super-powered Dyson.'
Sucking you in with a promising, chuckle-laden trailer, Wanderlust threatened to be a continuation in Paul Rudd's leading-man development and the film which proved Jennifer Aniston had a sense of humour. The final product proves only that trailers can be more deceptive than the most experienced of con artists.
Populated by ill-defined characters, seemingly all afflicted by multiple personality disorder, Wanderlust is unattractively crass, narratively unstable, lowest common denominator folly. Director David Wain flip-flops between comfortable - if boring - Rom Com and loosely offensive Sex Comedy, meandering between tones and notes as vacuous as a super-powered Dyson.
By the half way point you find yourself hoping that, in some sort of bizarre crossover, the cultists from Martha Marcy May Marlene will somehow find their murderous way into the ranks of Wanderlust's annoying sub-hippies - led by the awfully cloying Justin Theroux - complete with a sharp knife in their hands.
Two scenes in Wain's film sum up the misguided nature of most of the director's attempts at comedy. The first is a deliberately-uncomfortable piece of waffling sexism, set in a newsroom. It goes on for far too long, ill-advisedly references - or downright steals from - Anchorman and has no place in the tone the rest of the film tries to strike. The second is a truly horrendous monologuing Rudd, attempting to come up with a litany of obscene sexual phrases with which to seduce Eva (Malin Akerman). Its not funny, completely out of character for George (although, tellingly in-character for screenwriter Ken Marino's Rick), goes on for far too long and features an actor visibly uncertain about the material he's regurgitating. These two scenes, alone, should be enough to convince viewers that Wanderlust suffers from a nauseating outbreak of ego-driven humourlessness and a disturbing amount of semi-scripted, badly-directed improvisation from talents who should know better.
And that's without pausing to mention Aniston who, for once, is a long, long way from being the worst thing on show.
A comedy in the same sense that accidentally dropping your lone set of house keys into the Pit of Carkoon might prove somewhat amusing for the first single second, before the unmitigated terror sets in.
Wanderlust is available to rent via Google Play.