"Wanderlust" is the latest comedy to come out of the Judd Apatow factory. It was directed by David Wain and reunites him with several members of the sketch comedy show, "The State," including Ken Marino, who co-wrote the screenplay with him. Wain's first feature film was 2001's "Wet Hot American Summer," a cult classic that was a spoof of 80's summer camp comedies like "Meatballs." His biggest hit to date was "Role Models" with Paul Rudd as an energy drink pitchman dissatisfied with his life.
In "Wanderlust," Rudd is George, a white collar worker seemingly satisfied with his life. He's married to the beautiful Linda (Jennifer Aniston), a documentary filmmaker, and they've just bought a "micro-loft" in the trendy West Village of Manhattan. Never mind that the cramped accommodations are a glorified studio apartment, it's a sound investment says their real estate broker. Then, the bottom drops out. HBO turns down Linda's new doc about penguins with testicular cancer and George's firm is shut down due to revelations of massive fraud. The not-so-happy couple is forced to move into the Atlanta McMansion of George's overbearing brother, Rick (Marino). During the road trip, George and Linda take a detour into a hippy commune called Elysium and are drawn to stay by a life unburdened of the trappings of modern society.
"Wanderlust" is rife with great, comedic performances from a game supporting cast. Marino is very funny as the obnoxious Rick with Michaela Watkins as his put upon wife. The denizens of Elysium are a colorful batch of characters led by Justin Theroux as their guru, Seth, whose outdated knowledge of technology consists of laserdiscs, FAX machines, and Walkmans. Alan Alda co-stars as Carvin, the community's burnt out founder, who rides around on an electric scooter. There's also Malin Akerman as the sexy bombshell, Eva, and Joe Lo Truglio as a wine making nudist. When he's not stomping grapes for his homemade wine, he's attempting to write a Robert Ludlum-esque political thriller.
There's good chemistry between Rudd and Aniston, having previously worked together in "The Object of My Affection." Aniston gets to play it looser than usual though she doesn't get as outrageous as the sexpot dentist in "Horrible Bosses." Rudd is always entertaining as the exasperated straight man. He gets the best scene in the film when he tries to psych himself up to sleep with Eva by awkwardly spouting dirty talk in front of a mirror. Nothing else in "Wanderlust" can top it. In fact, the bloopers shown over the end credits were the only other thing I laughed at. Rudd is naturally funny, especially when it feels like he's working off the cuff. However, the humor in "Wanderlust" is strained and full of tired jokes about hippies and their lack of hygiene. There's also a lame subplot involving real estate developers
The video is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer is bright and bold with a warm color palette, especially during the sunny outdoor scenes. Skin tones are natural and details come through sharply.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The sound is mostly dialogue driven with a little vibrancy from the music and effects.
The Blu-ray includes an audio commentary track with David Wain, Ken Marino, and Paul Rudd. For some reason, Kevin Pollak joins in, despite having nothing to do with the movie. He's mostly there to liven it up with his impressions of William Shatner, Al Pacino, and Woody Allen.
Wanderlust: The Bizarro Cut (80:00) is a different version of the film using alternate takes and deleted scenes.
Line-O-Rama (9:10) is a reel of alternate, ad-libbed lines that weren't used in the film.
God Afton!: Behind the Scenes of Wanderlust (27:13) is a making-of featurette with the cast and crew discussing the themes of the picture and their characters.
Penis Envy (7:41) is a tongue-in-cheek look at the prosthetic unit that Joe Lo Truglio wore throughout the production.
The Elysium Campaign (5:38) follows actor Jordan Peele doing his Barack Obama impression as he gives us a tour of the Elysium sets.
Wainy Days: Elysium (8:37) is an episode of David Wain's web series as he winds up in Elysium after running out of gas.
Rounding out the release are a gag reel and the theatrical trailer with DVD and Digital Copy versions of the film.
In 1985, Albert Brooks wrote, directed, and starred in "Lost in America," a sharp comedy with he and Julie Hagerty as yuppie Los Angelinos. They leave behind their lives to travel across the country in a Winnebago only to discover their old, materialistic ways were just fine. "Wanderlust" isn't nearly as subversive or satirical. It's a scattershot and pedestrian comedy, despite all the talent involved.