Running Time: 113 minutes
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Malin Akerman, Jean Reno, Jason Bateman, Kristin Bell, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis, Faizon Love, Kali Hawk
Directed By: Peter Billingsly
Rating: 3.5 out of 10
Four couples head to a tropical paradise for some fun in the sun and some couples therapy.
There is nothing more frustrating than a falsely advertised movie. From the trailer, Couples Retreat looked like another hilarious and outrageous comedy with Vince Vaughan leading the way. I was shocked to find out that this was more of a romantic comedy and a pretty bad one at that. The movie centers around 4 couples in varying stages of their respective relationships. The couples head out to a tropical island for some rest and relaxation and a little couple's therapy while they are at it.
Since the focus of this movie is the couples themselves. It only makes sense to review them as they fit into the movie. After a short intro where you meet the couples in question they make the trek to the island where the hilarity is supposed to commence but never really does.
The first couple named Dave and Ronnie, are played by Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman. They are secure in their marriage and have two kids. They are happy in their relationship even though the excitement may be ebbing. Vaughn tries his usual comedic delivery which is to dominate the screen with his gift of gab but he fails for two obvious reasons. The first reason is the PG-13 rating takes most of the steam out of his epic rants. The second with no strong supporting characters in this film he looks lost at sea without a life raft. Akerman his wife has chemistry with Vaughn at points but she does nothing special with the role so this couple was a bust comedy wise.
The second couple is Jason and Cynthia played by Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell. They have been married for a while but are having setbacks. Bateman and Bell work well together on screen. Their characters obsessive planning and preparation for all of life’s activities while not outright funny, is amusing and a very easy watch. They are the best part of this film but really it is not saying much as it was an average performance overall from them.
The third couple is Joey and Lucy played by Jon Favreau and Kristin Davis. They have been married since high school and have lost all passion and interest for each other. They try and find humor with this pairing on screen by the two of them trying to seek out extra marital affairs. It is mostly a sad angle and seems out of sync with the general vibe of the film. Trying to insert awkward sexual encounters in a film geared towards a younger audience is strange and out of place. The two of them are okay in their roles but are big misses with their comedic placement.
The last couple is Shane and Trudy played by Faizon Love and Kali Hawk. They are a newly dating couple pulling the George Clooney of the dating world. That being Shane is way older than Trudy. It is a strange pairing on paper and even more awkward to watch. This couple does not fit into the flow of the film at all. They try to squeeze jokes out of this relationship where none were to be found. The jokes can be summed up that Shane is fat and Trudy is young and the terrible jokes never get any deeper than that. This couple is easily the worst and had no business being in this film.
Because the couples are so dull and generic the movie never works. The island is beautiful even though the staff there are a bunch of creepy weirdoes. For every funny scene where a shirtless Favreau gets groped by a male Yoga instructor, there is an equally unfunny scene where he goes to get a special massage from the hotel masseuse. The film will lull you to sleep as it rolls along with its predictable romantic comedy story line and conclusion.
Director Peter Billingsly should have stayed out of the lime light instead of directing this film. He is best known for his role as Ralphie in a Christmas Story. He takes a strong comedic cast and puts together a film of very little enjoyment. The couples are either underutilized or miscast. The PG-13 rating handcuffs a lot of the comedy and without Vaughn able to really get going this project was doomed from the start.
I cannot recommend this film and while the island is beautiful to look at the story makes you want to get a Red Ryder BB gun and shoot your eye out.
T Factor + If you liked romantic comedies as a genre this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you like riskier humor then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Fools Gold, Failure to Launch.