Paul Rudd is the best friend a movie comedy can have. He always delivers the goods and something extra, usually something wild and weirdly wonderful. In Wanderlust, Rudd lets the funny fly. Like the movie he's in, Rudd only seems normal. Inside, it's all deliriously unhinged. Rudd plays George, an uptight Wall Street suit squeezed into a Manhattan micro-loft with his documentarian wife Linda (Jennifer Aniston) until the recession shuts them both down. Off they go to Georgia where his idiot brother (Ken Marino, the film's co-writer) offers him a job in his porta-potty business. Unacceptable. So George and Linda take shelter in Eysium, a commune where craziness reigns along with pot, acid, dodgy hygiene and free love. When the luscious Eva (Malin Akerman) offers to get it on with him, George unravels his straight laces. Here comes the Rudd time capsule moment: In a mirror, George rehearses talking dirty to Eva, taking the word "dick" and stretching it into syllables of near-pornographic hilarity. It helps that Rudd is once again working with director and co-writer David Wain, as he did in Role Models and the immortal 2001 indie Wet Hot American Summer. Wain isn't afraid to let a joke stretch. That's because the joke, in the expert hands of Rudd, will run off to places you never imagined. I'm not going to pretend that all of Wanderlust rises to that level of inspired lunacy. There are only so many ways to juggle hippie clichés. But when the script sags, Wain and producer Judd Apatow rely on a top team of actors to keep you laughing. Rudd and Aniston build an easy rapport. And Justin Theroux is a hoot as the commune's sleazy leader. Add Alan Alda, Joe Lo Truglio, Lauren Ambrose, and the priceless Kathryn Hahn as other residents of Elysium, and there's no way you won't be tickled. Wanderlust makes escapism an irresistible proposition.
Apatow Productions/Entertainment Pictures