At The Movies: “Couples Retreat”


First Posted: 10/16/2009

You know that feeling you get when someone pulls out the photo album from their latest vacation?
Look, thats me kissing the dolphins. They were so playful that day.
Look, thats John peering into the volcano.
Oh, thats me with the flower in my hair and thats the guy that bought me daiquiris all night at the tiki hut and we danced the night away under the full moon. Theres the moon. See the moon? Isnt it beautiful?
I think the word we are looking for is nausea. Or loathing. Or Id rather strangle you than look at one more photo of you on a beach.
By the end of Couples Retreat, this is how youll feel. If you choose to see this anyway, like the rest of the nation that launched this movie into the No. 1 spot on its debut weekend, please remember that I warned you.
First, lets meet the crew. Vince Vaughn (Dave, and co-writer of this script) is a normal guy. He is married to a lovely woman named Ronnie (Malin Akerman), has two kids and dreads picking out the new kitchen tile. Hed rather be watching a ballgame or eating a bratwurst or keeping the sofa warm.
Joey (Jon Favreau, and co-writer) is married to Lucy (Kristin Davis of Sex in the City). They will soon have a daughter in college and are counting down the days until they can get a divorce. Why? We dont know. I guess director Peter Billings the kid who wanted a BB gun in A Christmas Story didnt think we needed to know.
Left by his wife, Shane (Faizon Love) is trying to bounce back by dating a 20-year-old named Trudy (Kali Hawk). She wants a sugar daddy and a good time.
Jason (Jason Bateman) and Cynthia (Kristen Bell) are an obsessive super-scheduling duo that is considering calling off an eight-year marriage because they have failed to get pregnant. In a power-point presentation to their friends, they demonstrate how their pending divorce is rational, but one last shot at marriage counseling is worth the effort. In order to get the group discount rate at a relationship-building resort, they need all four couples to attend.
So theyre off. Blue skies, blue waters, white sands and idyllic Eden Island (actually filmed in Bora Bora, Tahiti and French Polynesia). But instead of the snorkeling, jet skiing and skin bronzing they had envisioned, the couples are forced to attend early morning relationship workshops, therapy sessions and yoga classes (OK, the yoga scene was funny).
While Jason and Cynthia are taking the help seriously, the others are behaving like a pack of CEOs whove been told they have to volunteer at a soup kitchen one Saturday morning to see how others live. And they have to forego their limos and walk to it at that.
From here on out, it just gets tedious and ridiculous. There was a Guitar Hero scene so bad that I dont want to replay it in my mind long enough to describe it. One of the worst scenes Ive seen. Ever.
And another thing, I still cannot figure out how fat, dumpy men get beautiful, bikini babes for wives. Trust me, Ive got nothing against being overweight (I am the poster mom for what not to let happen to your body after birthing two children). But, really, all Im asking for is a little realism. On second thought, who am I kidding? After all, its Hollywood: the place where mens wildest dreams come true. Ill just move on.
Anyway, at about this point in the film, you can just go get your Aunt Beckys photo album of her and Uncle Herbs trip to Pierson, Fla., the fern capital of the world, because its bound to be more entertaining than the rest of this movie.
Youve seen all the funny parts of Couples Retreat. They were revealed in the previews. And what you didnt see, you can guess.
This film is predictable, unoriginal and has nothing interesting to say. I think Vince Vaughn needs to take a little vacation of his own.

Rated PG-13 (originally rated R) for sexual content, language and mature themes, and running at 1 hour 45 minutes, Couples Retreat should have a comma in its title: Couples, retreat. It gets 2 1/2 bags of popcorn.

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