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Philly2Philly.com Movie Review-Couples Retreat


Couples Retreat, which is the latest collaboration between Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau (both co-wrote it) is a story of four couples who head to the paradise in support of their friend Jason (played by Jason Bateman).

Early in the movie we learn that things aren't so rosy between Jason and his wife Cynthia (Kristin Bell).  Jason loves to explain things to his friends with elaborate PowerPoint presentations and explains that he and is wife are considering a divorce, but as a last resort they want to go to a resort called Eden to try and fix their marriage.  The catch is they can't go alone, but can get a discount rate if everybody goes, to the tune of 50% off.  An opportunity like this comes once in a lifetime for people like this, but like many things timing is an issue. 

David (Vince Vaughn) is very reluctant to go as things are hectic in his life between work, the kids, and home renovations.  Jason in a last-ditch effort comes to David's house in the middle of the night and begs him to go.  David is the leader of the pack and Jason tells him if he goes, then everybody will go.  

Vince Vaughn (who I like in every movie he does) does his usual thing.  He plays himself in many movies, but Vaughn never disappoints and always serves as the engine for his fellow cast members.  And, it's always a fun ride when watching his films.

Once the four couples head to Eden it looks like, well as the character Joey (Jon Favreau) says, "a screensaver."  On the first night of their vacation they are treated to an amazing dinner, but everybody learns from the coordinator of Eden West, Cstanley (spelled with a C) that they are due for some rounds of couples counseling.  This is certainly not something they signed up for.  Cstanley says they can think things over and they'll glady be refunded their money.  Eden East on the other hand, is the other island within the resort and is for swinging singles.  Joey cannot wait to break away from the pack to head over there.

Turn to next morning and the couples are greeted by Monsieur Marcel (played by action movie stalwart Jean Renoit) who is a world renown marriage healer.  Renoit who often plays a badass in action films takes a departure with this role.  During the 7-day trip it's mandatory they attend the sessions with the Monsieur.  In their first session, everybody is told to undress and tell their mates what they think of of their bodies.  Shane (Faizon Love), a mountain of a man forgot to put on his underwear and is told by the Monsieur he must take his shorts off like everybody else regardless.  This is one of many funny scenes.

The other catch is that all four couples must go through counseling sessions.  And, then they may enjoy the paradise.

David and his wife Ronnie (Malin Akerman) are very skeptical of the sessions they are having with their counselor as he tries to project problems in their marriage that don't even exist.  We learn that some of their friends are having more problems then meets the eye.  Take Jon Favreau's character Joey for instance.  He can't wait to get away from his wife Lucy (Sex and the City's Kristin Davis).  Later in the movie David confronts Joey about his marital issues and he tells him that marriage is not for everybody, but he (David) wants to be married because he wants to share his life with somebody.  That's one of the quality points of this movie. 

While it's not a laughfest like some of Vaughn's other movies like Old School or Wedding Crashers, Couples Retreat provides many laughs and if you want a night of fun entertainment and an escape from the grind, then this is just the film for you.  The plot is simple, dialogue is smart, the backdrop of Boro Boro is spectacular, but the characters aren't very deep.  That's one drawback to the film, but ultimately this isn't an intellectual exercise. Couples Retreat is escapist and doesn't take itself too seriously.  And, if you want to get away for an evening then you're in for a treat.

*** starts out of ****