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Thoughts on 'Couples Retreat' . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, October 19, 2009

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Rental. Unless you are already missing summer and need - just plain NEED - to see a beach, then this one would be fine as a rental because it only rarely rises above a mediocre comedy, which is disappointing given the cast involved with the project.

Will I Own It On DVD: No. Right now, I don't feel the need to ever see it again, although I would watch certain segments if it was showing on cable some lazy afternoon.

Overrall Grade: C

1) I love movies set on tropical beaches. I am a total sucker for them every single time. I've seen fairly good ones ('Forgetting Sarah Marshall'), solid if unspectular ones ('The Beach') and bad ones ('Turistas'). I would probably pay to watch Lindsay Lohan read the phone book to Josh Hartnett if they set it on a beach in the Carribbean. Maybe not as we all have our limits, but anyway, 'Couples Retreat' falls into the middle-of-the-road category where most of the jokes have been shown in the previews, and this high concept comedy generally fails to create anything particularly memorable.

2) The plot involves 4 couples who travel to the Eden resort - located in Tahiti - to work on their relationships in paradaise. There's the couple lacking alone time because they have small kids (Vince Vaughn, Malin Akerman), the couple who want kids but can't have them (Jason Bateman, Kristin Bell), the couple together since high school who now hate each other (John Favreau, Kristin Davis), and the newly divorced man now dating a 20-year-old party girl who calls him 'Daddy' (Kali Hawk, Faizon Love).

As you might expect, they all learn certain lessons along the way from the specific programs crafted for them by Jean Reno, a legendary relationship master who likes to wear skimpy bathing suits and silk robes.

3) The cast of 'Couples Retreat' boasts several members that I generally like including Bateman, Vaughn, Favreau, and Reno. The women were also appealing as they all have good comic timing, and the fact they look great in bathing suits doesn't hurt either. Still, for the number of funny people involved in this movie, there is a noticable dearth of laughs and considering that Vaughn and Favreau co-wrote the script, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

4) That being said, the director doesn't help them out by elevating the material. The kid from 'A Christmas Story' directed this movie, and I'm not sure if it was his first effort, but regardless, he failed to milk the maximum amount of fun/laughs from the set-ups which were given to him. A 'Guitar Hero' sequence in particular seemed like something ripe for caging a few more audience chuckles, and yet, they never fully arrived.

5) The main problem I had with 'Couples Retreat' was that it played it far too safe. This should have been a R rated comedy versus the PG-13 film they released, a decision that I'm sure was a calculation to bring in more box office money by the studio. That decision, however, has produced a decent yet wholly unspectacular comedy that largely wastes a cast who are never challenged to flex their comic muscles in new and unexpected ways.



  1. Linda Says:
  2. This review just reinforces why I did not see this in the theater. I may rent it, but it looks like a painful waste of talent. I'm glad the setting was pretty, sad when that's the best you have to say.

  3. Boxer Says:
  4. I saw a commercial for this on TV the other night and told Mr.Boxer "pass". I'm sure it sounded/looked good on paper, and the cast isn't bad (LOVE Bateman, hope he was well paid.) but I get tired of the same old jokes/etc about relationships.

    A certain young sciptwriter from Texas could do soooo much better. ;-)

  5. Linda - I know. I thought the exact same thing and went anyway. Ha. And you're right - when the locale is the best thing going for a movie, then you know you're in trouble.

    Boxer - Yeah, it earned a pass. I said the same thing and this is the first movie I saw in awhile where I went in pretty skeptical about it being any good. I'm right there w/ you on Bateman too . . . and yeah, this has nothing new to add to the same old recycled relationship jokes. Finally, checked about coverage last week and the assistant had been out two weeks, so she was supposed to check where it stood as I politely reminded her it's been double the amount of time she thought it would take. :)

  6. Boxer Says:
  7. why has HEFF gone private? Boo.

  8. kmwthay Says:
  9. I agree 100% about this movie. I didn't expect it to be great, so I wasn't disappointed when I left.

    Although, I did have moments of loud giggles during the yoga class part.

    Sorry you threw pillows. I threw the remote. And my cat. Sort of.

  10. Boxer - What????? I figured he was just taking a break last week . . . grrrr.

    Kmwthay - Thanks as that's largely how I felt leaving the movie, but I was hoping that with my reduced expectations that I would like it more than I did. Just kind of a waste of talent . . . And I feel bad for your cat as I stopped throwing remotes years ago after breaking too many. :)

  11. JLee Says:
  12. This is disappointing with such a great cast. I didn't have high hopes, but may catch a rental later. I also hate when they show the funniest parts in the trailers. I like the Vince Vaughn line "now it's a party" ha

  13. Anonymous Says:
  14. What a shame. Those guys were really good in "The Breakup". So, it was the "Decoder Ring" of movies (Christmas Story reference...sorry!)

  15. TROLL Y2K Says:
  16. When I think Jean Reno, I think "comedy gold". Seriously, it sounds like a pitch for a weekly sit-com with celebritard guests. Perhaps staffed by a handsome mysterious Spaniard and a dwarf who says "Da Plane, Da Plane".Not a feature film.

    Is Kevin Connolly a horribly bad actor and athletic enough to play a jockey?

  17. Jlee - Yeah, it was disappointing and you've pretty much seen that whole scene and the lines in it from the previews, just kind of lazy. That being said, it's a fine rental with low expecations & the beach looks great.

    Urbanexcursion - Ha. Dig the 'Decoder' reference, and Favreau and Vaughn are fine here, but it just feels like they were kind of going through the motions. I just wish the whole thing was sharper . . .

    Troll Y2K - That's a pretty apt description actually . . . everything is just very high concept and broadly drawn and none of it is very good or funny. It's just really, really OK. As for Connelly, he seems the most reasonable of all the 'Entourage' bunch (I realize that's not saying a lot), and he's on the smallish side, so he could pass for a jockey. That being said, he doesn't seem overly atheletic to me, however, it's hard to tell and they could film him so it probably didn't matter anyway. Possibly.

  18. Miss Ash Says:
  19. Ok I must disagree....The Beach belongs in the I will never get those 3 hours back I want to rip my eyeballs out category. Dreadful just dreadful!

    An now I'm disappointed about looked so funny in the ads.

  20. Miss Ash - I thought the Beach was decidedly OK. Not terrible. Not good. Just OK. The book was much, much better and I'd recommend it without question. As for CR, if you've seen the ads, then you've seen most of the amusing parts, but it would still be fine for a rental.


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