August 22, 2013

Wanderlust (2012)

Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Alan Alda, Malin Ackerman, Justin Theroux

Some years ago, I heard a comedian say there were three actors in Hollywood who never aged: Rob Lowe, Peter Gallagher, and Dick Clark (this was obviously before his stroke). Though it might be a bit early to predict, I think I would add Paul Rudd to that list. Think about it - has he changed at all since his big screen debut as flannel-wearing step-brother Josh in Clueless? As if!

[Side note: did no one else think it was really creepy that Cher and Josh hooked up in the end? I realize they were never related by blood, and their parents had divorced, but I think any time you need a technicality to explain the ok-ness of your relationship, it just means it's creepy to everyone else. (e.g. "but second cousins are allowed to marry so it's totally ok!")]

Anyway, since then, he's played a string of awkward but lovable characters who are all pretty much the same. I guess you can't blame a guy for sticking with what gets him paid (though I wouldn't be terribly disappointed if they stopped dressing him like he stepped out of a J.Crew catalogue). Jennifer Aniston has slightly more variation in her roles (if you count her "critically acclaimed" turn in Friends With Money, which was awful, by the way), but frequently winds up in movies you wish you could un-watch (Along Came Polly, Love Happens, The Bounty Hunter).

Here, they combine their mediocre acting forces for a mediocre movie. There's nothing surprising about the movie, the plot, or even the jokes. The only standout is the performance by Ken Marino, who does such an excellent job as Paul Rudd's obnoxious older brother, you just wish something bad would happen to him. Like death. Seriously. Everything else is extremely mild, especially given the intention, no doubt, of injecting some spice into the movie by having some characters be nudists. Maybe it's just from living in San Francisco, but there is really nothing shocking to me about nudists anymore. Especially after seeing Magic Mike. Just kidding.

Final word: I can confidently say this is an enjoyable movie, provided I am stuck on an airplane or trapped elsewhere for hours with no other form of entertainment.

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