Odds are, you will enjoy the movie. The RT score is 58%. The top critics score is 52%. The user score is 68% (9,900 votes).
Whether you liked the movie or not, I'm sure there's going to be debates about who WAS funny and who WASN'T. Which means that there are stocks rising and falling.
Here are my thoughts.
Main guy: Paul Rudd
Main girl: Jennifer Aniston
Rudd's disgusting brother: Ken Marino
Marino's sad wife: Michaela Watkins
KM's and MW's foul-mouthed child: John D'Leo
founder of Elysium: Alan Alda
Leader of Elysium: Justin Theroux
Hottie of Elysium: Malin Akerman
Awkward joke maker of Elysium: Kerri Kenney-Silver
Was very similar in Our Idiot Brother: Kathryn Hahn
Naked dude of Elysium: Joe Lo Truglio
Drives a car into a lake: Jordan Peele
Peele's baby's mamma: Lauren Ambrose
HBO executive: Zandy Hartig
HBO executive's bitch: Keegan Michael Key
Ray Liotta: Ray Liotta
Here we go.
Dude went crazy. Just so you know how little I knew of Justin Theroux, I didn't realize he was the same Justin Theroux that is dating Jennifer Aniston. Before yesterday, I couldn't have named a single movie he had been in. So as I watched Wanderlust I kept thinking: "Who the fuck is this guy?" In a good way. It's the same thing I asked during Forty-Year-Old Virgin about Seth Rogan. I was very impressed with Theroux's performance.
The "I sort of wish this movie was about them" category
Marino is over the top. He says vulgar, racist, selfish things. Every time he was on screen, I wondered what he would say or do next. I was curious, disgusted, but really amused. I also liked looking at him as the embodiment of a certain 21st century zeitgeist (I'll stop here to avoid getting political).
Contrasting Marino is his unhappy wife. Watkins, is rendered vapid by her husband, is a victim. I feel like Theron's Mavis from Young Adult could be Watkins's sister, or a cousin. What won me over was her subtle pronouncements of unhappiness mixed with her seeming stupidity (twice she didn't recognize voices on the phone, even with context) (unless she just pretended to not recognize voices, that this is how she amuses herself, in which case I love her). Her way of speaking, her small demonstrations of displeasure, her random obliviousness made her a character I wanted to keep watching.
Throw in their little sarcastic dickhead child, and this is a family I think would yield an interesting movie. I doubt we'll get a spin-off. And I'm not sure if I'd like to see Marino play the same role again. But I liked him and Watkins. I really liked Watkins. I liked her when she was on SNL too. I like her in this short.
Actually, I'm really not sure I'd like to see a 90 minutes of JUST them, but they were one of my favorite parts about Wanderlust and I'm interested to see where they go from here. (They referring to Marino and Watkins, not so much D'Leo--sorry, kid).
The "Albert Brooks in Drive" category
I've seen this guy as a weird annoying dude (Superbad), as a weird little prick (Pineapple Express), as a Xanthian knight (Role Models), and as a high-pitched, repetitious weirdo (I Love You, Man). Truglio, unlike Thoreaux, is someone I thought I knew. I always found him funny but didn't think he had much range.
Maybe I'm stupid, but I had no idea "Wayne Davidson" was actually Joe Lo Truglio. He was weird, but not in the same way as his Superbad loser or his Pineapple Express teacher or his Role Models turncoat, or his I Love You, Man cameo. It's the first time I've believed he was playing a person. Wayne Davidson has hobbies. Is part of a group. Has organized a nudist wine makers convention. Has written a novel. His weirdness is from the fact that he's a nudist and doesn't have the best conversation skills (talking about his novel with Rudd when Rudd clearly doesn't want to talk to him). But that's real-world weird. It's human weird. It's not the hyper weird of his previous roles. The over-the-top weird.
Seeing him play a real person and not a cartoon character person that's one-degree more crazy than everyone else, was, I thought, a welcomed change. It was a different role for J-Lo. It revealed an ability I didn't know he had. I thought he was great. And maybe that's why I didn't think Joe was Wayne.
Hanh played Paul Rudd's ex in Our Idiot Brother and received attention from critics. Her character here is similar. Less of a key role, but maybe more opportunities for laughs? She keeps getting these secondary roles in ensemble films. The Goods: Live Fast, Sell Hard. Revolutionary Road. Step Brothers.
Is she ready for a leading role? Is there a leading role she fits?
The "who the fuck are these people?" category
No, but, seriously....who the fuck are these people?
Peele was on MADtv.
Kenney-Silver was in Role Models (McLovin's mom) and was on the show Reno 911!
Ambrose was on HBO's Six Feet Under.
The fact that they have such prominent roles in this film is good for them.
The "Alan Alda" category
The "Two Steps Forward One Back Double Edged Sword" category
Ackerman went from Freak Show's hot wife (Harold & Kumar Go to Whitecastle) to Heigl's hot sister (27 Dresses) to female superhero Silk Spectre (Watchman). Since Watchman she's had meatier roles. In The Proposal she played the hot ex but had way more screen time and opportunity for acting than in either Whitecastle or Dresses. Then Couples Retreat allowed her even more depth.
Since Retreat she's done a slew of smaller movies, playing diverse roles: an Alopecia patient (happythankyoumoreplease), a drug store clerk (Elektra Luxx), an editor (The Bang Bang Club), and a thief/assassin (Catch .44).
Catch .44 went straight to DVD.
So her return to a major studio release is Wanderlust. And what's she play? The hot girl. We're reminded that, hey, Malin Akerman is a fucking smoke show. But I'm sure she thought she was beyond roles like this. When's the last time Charlize Theron's taken a one-dimensional role like this? So there's good and bad. Hopefully this is a return for Akerman rather than a regression.
The "Jason Bateman" category
I feel Paul Rudd is sort of getting into a groove. I don't mean that as in "Listen to McCartney groove" or "Cliff Lee is in the groove". I mean it as in "Hey, put this drawer in its groove." Or "Cut a groove into the ground so this water has somewhere to go." "You mean a ditch?" "Yeah, whatever".
Middle to Upper-Middle to Upper class guy having relationship issues: Clueless, The Forty-Year-Old Virgin, Night at the Museum (sort of), Knocked Up, Role Models, I Love You, Man, Dinner for Schmucks, Our Idiot Brother, and now Wanderlust.
Dude who is more laid back than everyone else: Clueless, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Our Idiot Brother, Wanderlust (for half the movie).
I like Paul Rudd. But I'm getting tired of seeing him in the same wardrobe, doing a lot of the same stuff. Granted, his characters are nuanced in a way Bateman's aren't. Virgin he was depressed. Sardonic in Role Models. Awkward as shit in I Love You, Man. Really, really, really....Ned in Idiot Brother (I think we can turn his character into an adjective, because another adjective doesn't really suffice, I'd need a slew of adjectives to describe Ned properly).
In Wanderlust he has the ad-lib mirror scene, also, following the mirror scene, the destructive verbal foreplay with Akerman. As far as I'm concerned, this is a new facet of Rudd's acting. But it's a minor moment wrapped in what was otherwise familiar to me. I'm not complaining that Rudd's in this movie. And I liked him. But I thought: "This. Again. Well. Okay."
The "Outlier" category
I think there'll be debate. Is Aniston funny in this? Is she sexy or is she beyond her prime? She was supposed to go topless in this movie but she didn't, the scene was filmed and cut (or it wasn't cut and was always supposed to be pixelated (there's no definitive answer at this time)), will people (guys) complain about this?
My main complaint is the return to familiarity. Aniston played an awful person in Horrible Bosses. I found that REFRESHING. Wanderlust is, again, a romantic comedy.
I mean, it's not the same as Office Space, The Break-Up or Bruce Almighty or Along Came Polly (but if you add the four up...). She has her drug scene. And her character shifts as she transforms into an Elysium devout (which is also refreshing for the few scenes this occurs). There's nuance. But...
As I see it, if there's debate about the actors and actresses in this movie, whether or not they were good or funny, it's POSITIVE publicity for the lesser-known people. People are finding out who these actors are. And the actors are gaining more fans (my guess, since they probably didn't have THAT many fans to lose).
But the more mainstream entities have something to lose.
Well, Alda, not so much. He's older. Has a minor role. I doubt any fans of Alda will see this and say "You know what? Fuck Alan Alda!"
But Rudd and Aniston are popular. But not legends like Alda. Wanderlust is a risky film for both of them.
I like Rudd and Aniston. And I liked Wanderlust. But Wanderlust is a bit of a repetition for both of them. So I don't like Rudd or Aniston any more than I did before. In fact, I was a little bored by them. It's like eating a peanut butter sandwich every day for lunch. You can enjoy it. But is the 25th peanut butter sandwich going to make you like peanut butter or sandwiches any more than you previously did? I don't think so. In order to increase the good sentiments, you need to try peanut butter in a new way (like in a smoothie, or as an ice cream flavor, or with banana or apple slices). You need to eat a different sandwich (ham and swiss cheese is amazing! I like SANDWICHES more now!). The danger is that one day you sit down to eat the sandwich and you think "...fuck peanut butter sandwiches...I'm tired of this." (See Adam Sandler).
Aniston, being the biggest name in Wanderlust, has the most to lose. And the least to gain.
Did I like it:
Sure. I think some people will love this movie. But that it will have more of a cult following than any mainstream appeal.
Go Ray Liotta.
I don't have too much more to say.
What it's good for:
-Paul Rudd fans
-people who liked Our Idiot Brother and maybe Office Space (not because of Jennifer Aniston, just because)
-seeing some not-yet-mainstream comedians
-quick, quick, quick resolution
-stabs at social commentary
-the two extremes followed by the "oh the middle ground is the right answer!"
% Character / % Actor's personality and previous roles
Theroux: 100/0 (although I've never watched him in anything else, I thought he killed this)
Marino: 50/50 (not so much different than his dick step dad in Role Models)
Wain: Role Models
Rudd: The Forty-Year-Old Virgin; Role Models; Knocked Up; I Love You, Man; Clueless
Aniston: Office Space; Horrible Bosses; Bruce Almighty
Alda: The Aviator