Camp Apatow returns with an inviting premise: a New York couple (Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd) face sudden employment, pack their bags and end up at a hippie commune. The film fails, however, to deliver on the idea that anything might happen. Instead what we get is fairly routine, and a bunch of dicks.
For the non-“morally conservative”, Wanderlust is an inoffensive distraction, albeit unusually glossy. Witness Rudd and Apatow’s sporadically argumentative car journey in the opening act, jump cut like scissors to a trampoline. On paper it’s witty and inventive. If you’re like me you’ll smile appreciatively but you won’t find yourself laughing out loud. At other times it’s hard to know if you’re intended to. Scenes with a serious tone invite you to invest in the central duo (not all that successfully). When jokes are thrown in you’re less likely to laugh than think “Why is he being a dick like that?” Elsewhere, scenes played out for humour from the offset are hindered by the sense of dread pervading the celluloid. The opening is just a warning. Paradise’s trouble takes its sweet time to gradually reveal itself to the couple.
Another consequence of this is a resolution that uneasily (but inevitably) returns them to the City where they had been unhappy and trapped, having become disgruntled too with the commune – no meat, shit coffee, dicks and dickheads. You feel that the writers perhaps would have preferred to stick with a premise – a fantasy of escape – and not have to follow it through to a troubled conclusion.