The reviews for the David Wain-directed, Paul Rudd-starring Wanderlust are here, and they’re…disappointing. The story of two type-A New Yorkers learning to live in a hippie commune has a 55% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and most reviewers seem to feel that it’s too heavy on improv and light on humor.
“Most of the funniest bits of this film already are in the commercials and the trailer,” complains Marshall Fine of the Huffington Post. “[F]or every few jokes that hit…one sputters and dies,” agrees the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis. Roger Moore of the Chicago Tribune railed against the film as “a random, tedious and tone-deaf comedy, a feeble recycling of every hippie commune cliche you’ve ever heard.” Even reviewers who enjoyed the jokes found the flow of the film lacking. “Much of the movie feels pasted together,” wrote Tom Long of the Detroit News; “the story doesn’t flow, it staggers forward.”
But it’s not all bad! The LA Times was far more forgiving, with Betsy Sharkey noting that “the manic energy and aggressive sarcasm of Wain’s Role Models…has become much more refined in Wanderlust.” Dargis also appreciated the early stretch of the film that follows George and Linda’s bad luck in New York, writing that “Mr. Wain gives this passage the kind of snap that brings to mind screwball films of the Depression era.” And more than a few reviews praised Paul Rudd’s pep talk to the mirror (“a filthy tour de force” in the words of the New York Post’s Lou Luminick), so the price of the ticket may be worth it for Rudd fans. But as Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post warns, don’t expect much more than “a shambling mix of cheap laughs and genuinely funny set pieces.”