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Wanderlust: Paul Rudd, Paul Rudd, Paul Rudd!
George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) are stereotypical, high powered New Yorkers. When they both lose their jobs, they’re forced to sell their newly acquired matchbox of a flat and move in with George’s brother in Atlanta. Due to their host’s rude, condescending manner, their stay turns into a full blown disaster leading George and Linda to try living at the nearby commune, where the residents’ hippy, free love ways drive a wedge into their seemingly perfect relationship.
Paul Rudd is awesome. Some people have this natural quality that just draws you to them; something that makes it impossible to hate them. Whatever that quality is - charisma/charm/etc. - Rudd has it in spades. He, along with the rest of the cast who are all consistently better than the material they’ve been given, makes the film. While Rudd and Aniston mostly have to act awkward around their new housemates and aren’t really given much comedic material to work with, the supporting cast are walking stereotypes that lend themselves easily to comedy.
One of the standouts is Theroux, who plays a charismatic hippie whose knowledge of modern technology peaks at pagers and faxes and who’s trying desperately to get into Linda’s pants.
Take the cast away from the equation and Wanderlust is just a slight comedy that takes the mickey out of hippies in a light and fun but repetitive way. The film is pretty funny if not particularly memorable; it’s the kind that you watch when you just want something to brighten up your mood. The jokes won’t have you crying with laughter, but will still make you chuckle, especially the ones that involve Marino and Watkins as George’s asshole brother and exasperated sister-in-law whose bickering frequently steals the film from the peace and love part of the cast.
The ending wraps up the film in neat bow while simultaneously signifying everything that’s wrong with it; it relies far too much on clichés and uses the cast as a crutch in lieu of a proper story. The cast are so good that they show up just how middling and unoriginal the script is. The film deals with not only every stereotype about hippies but also clichés about corporate drones, awful business men and rich housewives, and it takes the most straightforward path possible when portraying each of them. Yes, they’re usually funny, but with a cast like this, you’d expect the film to be smart as well.
She wakes up from her coma to a husband who she doesn’t remember and parents who are overjoyed that she’s forgotten about their dispute. While Paige’s parents try to bring her back to the way of life that she’d rebelled against, Leo tries to help her remember why she’d left all that behind in the first place. Fighting for a wife who doesn’t remember him and is a completely different person than the one he knew, Leo tries to get her to fall in love with him again.
The film rarely gets unbearably cheesy, setting it apart from your run of the mill Sparks adaptation. It gets mushy, emotional and sappy, but it’s more likely to make you smile than roll your eyes. Leo’s pain and heartbreak combined with Paige’s family’s delight at having their daughter back, gives the film a level of grit that keeps it from becoming overly cloying. However, the secret of the film’s success is the leads, who have great chemistry and manage to pass off some of the cheesiness as bearable.
While some may argue that originality is dead, no genre is more vulnerable to that notion than comedy, which has always been prevalent in Egyptian Ramadan TV. One only has to look to polarising TV personality and prankster, Ramez Galal.
Appearing for the fifth consecutive time on TV screens during Ramadan, Galal’s latest shenanigans present nothing new – in fact, one could argue that this year’s show, Ramez Wakel El Gaw, is one of the poorest yet; even the opening credits have come to be uniform. A grand orchestral intro makes way for nonsense music with nonsense lyrics. Galal – who lends his vocals to the opening credits – begins each episode in the same way, weaving in some banter at the expense of the celebrity that he’s about to prank.
The concept of the show is that each unsuspecting victim is summoned to a mystery business meeting in Dubai via plane. The prank? It's simple: convince the celebrity in question that the plane is experiencing engine failure and that they are about to die? Tasteless? Maybe. Unfunny? Almost certainly. Galal and co also pepper the celebrity’s ride with smaller, more infantile mini-pranks – serving strange-tasting coffee and spewing unpleasant odours in the plane.
As mentioned, the main prank itself is significantly weaker and cruder than that in previous series. In addition, episodes are shorter, while the show misses the opportunity in making the most of their guests – a sit-down and interview would give the show much more value, for examples. In fairness, however, the disguises and make-up that Galal uses during the pranks isn’t half-bad and there’s a certain guilty pleasure in seeing what he’ll look like in the next episode.
As always, the pay off in a show like this is how the celebrity responds to the revelation of the prank and this series has thus far seen some pretty angry and over-the-top reactions, with one particular episode featuring former belly-dancing star and actress, Lucy, requiring an inordinate amount of bleeping. Galal was even the victim of a pretty firm kicking at the hands of another unimpressed guest.
Galal shows have always received criticism, but viewing figures have always proven the popularity of them; like him or loathe him, people are always talking about him. This year, though, despite Paris Hilton featuring in an upcoming episode, there isn’t as much buzz; this is partly because of the emergence of other Ramadan prank shows, but could Egypt finally be tiring of his antics? Only time will tell.