Couples Retreat Movie Review

The script for this comedy is so half-baked that we begin to wonder why it was made at all. Not only is it resolutely unfunny, but it never dips beneath a superficial examination of relationship cliches.

Jason and Cynthia (Bateman and Bell) are a workaholic couple approaching their marriage as a business, so they propose to their friends a couple-building holiday in a tropical paradise. Dave and Ronnie (Vaughn and Akerman) need a break form their busy lives, Joey and Lucy (Favreau and Davis) hope to spend as much time holidaying apart as possible, and Shane (Love) brings along his new, young girlfriend (Walsh). Despite the spectacular location, it's not remotely what any of them expect, especially when love guru Marcel (Reno) starts his workshops.

There's a strong concept here, and the superior cast is capable of making something both funny and telling from it, but the script continually undercuts them with corny slapstick, unexciting capers and a resolutely shallow approach.

The plot is spread evenly among the four couples and their one-joke storylines, which leaves the film without a centre. And as it progresses, we soon realise that none of the plotlines are going to have a realistic outcome.

It's hard to see what drew such a strong cast to this project, besides the vacation in Bora Bora with pals Vaughn and Favreau (this is a long slide from their 1996 break-out in the too-cool Swingers). With roles reduced to mere stereotypes, there's nothing much the actors can do, although they do drum up some amusing chemistry. The supporting cast are left to steal whatever scenes they can, most notably Reno and Serafinowicz (as the resort's stern host).

Besides a few zinging one-liners, this is just a bland marital drama with gorgeous scenery and awkward physical comedy. It's certainly not the hilarious comedy the cast and crew seem to have thought they were making. This is shown in the way it constantly gets distracted by illogical, irrelevant set-pieces (the shark attack, the Guitar Hero challenge) and then has the nerve to get preachy about relationship issues. Bu the end, the only thing we take from the cinema is a craving for a Mai-Tai.


Couples Retreat Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: 12, 2009


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