Film Reviews

COUPLES RETREAT

By • Oct 12th, 2009 •

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Mean, miserable married men. Not funny. A toddler easily steals the movie.

Three unhappy men, Dave (Vince Vaughn), Shane (Faizon Love), and Joey (Jon Favreau) are guilt-bullied by their maybe divorce-bound buddy, Jason (Jason Bateman), to join him and his wife Cynthia (Kristen Bell) in going to a tropical island couples-only resort for a week of fun! For Jason and Cynthia, it’s a week of enforced couples therapy.

The Eden resort is run by weirdo Stanley (Peter Serafinowicz) and is the master plan of obnoxious New Age guru Monsieur Marcel (Jean Reno). He wears a maniki (the butt bra for men). Because every buddy comedy must have a gay subtext, here we have a yoga instructor, Salvadore (Carlos Ponce), who performs inappropriate yoga asanas with the men as well as the women. Are there any anal-oral 2-person yoga positions? There are here. Are you laughing yet? I wasn’t.

It gets worse.

This movie is a big disappointment. You are led to believe this will be a Vaughn-Favreau SWINGERS reunion. Instead, these two show absolutely no cinematic chemistry. Let’s be honest, Vaughn stopped acting with other actors years ago. And that is exactly what we like about him. But in COUPLES RETREAT he’s the moral compass of the movie as Favreau plays the sex-obsessed, unhappily married man. All Joey wants to do is dump his wife and sneak over to the singles side of the retreat.

The screenplay is by Favreau, Vaughn (he even takes credit for the original idea!) and Dana Fox (she also plays a waitress). Vaughn is a movie star. That means no one says “No” to him. No one told him the script was lousy and not funny. Yes, guys like Vaughn and Adam Sandler are getting too old for romantic comedies. So the answer is unhappy married men?

Favreau has the IRON MAN franchise. Why expose his, and Vaughn’s, true feelings of bitterness and anger? Why drag marriage into their private misery?

The rest of the cast is Kristin Davis as Favreau’s wife, Lucy; Malin Akerman as Vaughn’s wife, Ronnie; and Kali Hawk as Trudy, a young girl Shane picks up someplace and takes along. Shane has recently gone through a nasty divorce.

And then there are the mandatory counseling sessions with therapists played by John Michael Higgins, Ken Jeong, Charlotte Cornwell, and Amy Hill. The therapists start highlighting each couple’s simmering problems they never knew they had. Unless it’s court-appointed, why do this?

Once again, was this fiasco merely an opportunity for movie stars to audition actresses and then go on an all-expenses paid vacation? I suggest Favreau and Vaughn get better representation. Their people are not getting them enough money to pay for their own holidays.

A toddler, Colin Baiocchi, steals the movie. If only the director, Peter Billingsley, and the “writers” noticed this and brought the little boy to the retreat and left him at the singles side!

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