In the land of raunchy comedies, Wanderlust roams somewhere in the middle of the pack, but with a steady flow of medium sized jokes, it can still entertain.
Produced under the Judd Apatow house, Wanderlust stars Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston as a newly unemployed New York couple. Forced to move to Atlanta and stay with a rude brother in law, they instead decide to join a hippie commune.
If not for the obvious direction of the plot, Wanderlust may have been a better film. It’s not a bad movie, just medium funny.
The fish out of water routine manages to stay fresh thanks to a cast of oddballs living at the commune including Alan Alda and the now grown-up teenager from Six Feet Under, Lauren Ambrose. The jokes flow through the outsiders response to the free love, extreme openness and quirky habits of the tribe, but none really draw the burst out laughter that the similarly raunchy Bridesmaids delivered in 2011.
The humor is in the playing off stereotypical things you think a hippie commune might do. The characters act silly while hallucinating on drugs. The newbies get real uncomfortable with the free love sexual dynamic and watching people squirm while their personal space is constantly invaded is just fun. You can also appreciate the satire on yuppie culture.
Considering the cast was mostly made from the alum of the comic troupe The State, later turned Reno911!, you can expect the same level of alternative comedy.
Sidenote: Wanderlust means a strong impulse to travel. These characters are more in search of themselves. Bad title
If you’re really going to take the kids to an adventure movie, journey back to the box office and buy two tickets to the whale movie “Big Miracle.” It will be far more worth your time.
I simply do not enjoy watching disjointed kids movies that make incredibly ridiculous jumps of logic, while trying to maintain their credibility with the youth by spouting out trendy catch phrases of the day.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is the equally pathetic follow up to 2008’s Journey To The Center Of The Earth. Josh Hutcherson is the leftover from the first film, and is joined by Michael Caine, Luis Guzman, Dwayne Johnson and Vanessa Hudgens. I would imagine none of them will be listing this film on their resume.
Sean (Hutcherson) discovers a secret message from his grandfather (Caine) and convinces his stepfather (Johnson) to fly him to an island in the South Pacific on a school day. The stepfather-son relationship is stereotypically strained and Mom decides it’s an OK idea to help them bond.
Once there, they meet up with a willing, but low-rent tour guide (Guzman) and his daughter (Hudgens) who take them on a three-hour tour (sing it!) in search of the lost island.
They find a hidden place of beauty, only to discover they are in danger and need to flee. That’s a pretty crappy vacation indeed.
It’s annoying to me when characters who are clearly supposed to be human are allowed superhuman powers. The fantasy of this kid’s movie is supposed to be the magic they encounter and it’s wonder. Jump-starting a submarine with a giant electric eel is magic. The Rock singing a soothing song while playing a ukulele is not magic. At least carrying around the ukulele pays off somehow.
Journey 2 may all be entertaining for tweens, with all the elephants the size of small dogs and bumble bees the size of horses. The overabundance of poop jokes, bad puns and general mediocrity will be enough to allow Mom or Dad to take a brief nap during the film. Just ask the guy who dozed off sitting a few seats away from me.
Save this as a rental for the kids. Press play and leave the room. There is nothing useful for anyone over the age of 13 here.
Its said that youth is wasted on the young. Just think how bad it might be if they had superpowers too.
Chronicle is a finely tuned example of the found footage film genre. In it, three teenage boys, Andrew, Matt & Steve, come upon a mysterious hole in the ground, inside which is an even more mysterious object. They enter the hole as your typical teens. They exit with the power of telekinesis. The squirrelly-emo one of the three is documenting the events with his video cam.
This is like handing teenage boys $1,000,00 cash and telling them to have fun.
The second act, where our teens discover how to harness their new-found power is brilliant. It’s exactly how you expect three guys to act. At first they skip stones with their mind. Then while playing at the table, they figure out how to block a fork from stabbing their hand. Then they fly, all while manically giggling about how cool it is.
A nice design element of the film is the subtext of how these guys don’t seem quite mature enough to handle their power. Then, you think of what could go wrong. Then, things go wrong. The third act mayhem is typical and less interesting.
While this downward spiral is palpable, Chronicle works because you believe how these guys are living in the moment.
I was pleasantly surprised how well the film gels. I was tired with found footage style the moment The Blair Witch Project came out. This breathed some new life into it.