A few months ago, I watched and reviewed a movie called Wanderlust that most of you have probably already forgotten about. It starred Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston as an overstressed married couple who end up living on a hippie commune. It was not a terrible movie, but it wasn’t that memorable, either. Except for one scene, which I described in my review as such:
There’s a scene late in Wanderlust in which Paul Rudd’s character, George, is staring into a mirror and using a bizarre hillbilly accent to talk to his penis. He’s attempting to psych himself up for sex that he doesn’t want to have. It’s the funniest scene I’ve seen in a film in six months. There’s no way any of it was in the script — it’s just Rudd ad libbing, talking about putting his dick in a woman’s “vag” — and it goes on for a good while. It’s the kind of comic brilliance you can’t get from a screenwriter. You can only find that in an actor like Rudd, who is probably better off script than most A-list actors are delivering lines from a $5 million screenplay. Paul Rudd is gold, so charming, so effervescent, so likable, and so funny that any kind of structure is detrimental. If that scene had gone on for the entire 90 minutes, Wanderlust might have gone down as one of the great absurdist comedies.
Of course, comedy is subjective, and mileage may vary. For instance, upon discovering the scene, I previewed it for my wife who watched mostly stone-faced as I laughed until tears streamed down my face. Then she looked at me like I’d grown a third-nipple on my forehead: “Maybe it’s a Southern thing.”
Of course, now I need to know if it’s funny or if it’s just me. Here’s a poll.