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Couples Retreat
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Reviewed on 2009-10-10
Received[1.5]  out of 4 stars
Two Reviews below, first by Keith Cohen and then by Jolene Mendez.

Vince Vaughn (“Wedding Crashers”) and Jon Favreau (“The Break-Up”) put their heads together and decided to find a way to use their considerable Hollywood clout to obtain an all-expenses-paid vacation to a tropical island paradise. They co-wrote a script, got the green light from the studio and hired all their friends to participate in a big party atmosphere. It is evident from the results that making a movie was secondary to having as much fun in the sun as possible.

Peter Billingsley, a former child actor best known as Ralphie in the beloved holiday classic “A Christmas Story,” gladly agreed to make his directorial debut alongside his longtime buddies Vaughn and Favreau. It is too bad the story and characters in the foreground don’t measure up to the panoramic views of the exotic Bora Bora scenery in the background.

Since no other competing mainstream movie opens this weekend due to a scheduling oddity, the box office results should be favorable.

After an opening montage of love and marriage with couples through the ages, this modern-day situational comedy begins in the wintry Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove.

Jason (Jason Bateman from “Arrested Development”) and Cynthia (Kristen Bell from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Veronica Mars”) are considering a divorce after having problems conceiving for a year. They present a PowerPoint slide show at a kid’s birthday party about a resort specializing in mending broken relationships. It is very expensive, but the group rate package is affordable.

They get Dave (Vaughn) and his wife, Ronnie (Malin Akerman from “Watchmen,” “The Heartbreak Kid” and “27 Dresses”), Joey (Favreau) and his wife, Lucy (Kristin Davis from “Sex and the City”), and recent divorcee Shane (Faizon Love) and his much younger girlfriend, Trudy (Kali Hawk), to join them on this supposedly carefree, escapist jaunt.

It turns out the intense therapy and group bonding exercises are mandatory for all attendees. All the fun stuff involving water sports and spa activities takes place on the swinging singles side of the island.

This movie gets worse and worse as it goes along. The private counseling sessions are dull and flat as the therapists create friction in every relationship. A creepy yoga instructor inappropriately simulates various sexual positions. Most of the gags are in bad taste and not the least bit funny. The characters are annoying, embarrassing and an insult to your intelligence. Nobody should be forced to spend time with them.

A little voice in my head kept saying “Get me out of here,” but a critic is required to see a movie to its conclusion. This tedious movie proceeds at a snail’s pace as it sputters to the finish line. The bulk of the bland material belongs on the editing room floor rather than on the screen.

Vaughn plays the same persona in every movie. He has a blustery, cocksure swagger on the outside while hiding his deep-seated insecurities. Favreau has a wandering eye, but is jealous and territorial toward anyone showing an interest in his wife of 18 years.

The movie’s major selling points are the breathtaking azure ocean water, the white-sand beach, the luxurious villas on wooden piers and the drop-dead gorgeous, bikini-clad women. The biggest laughs come from charismatic toddler Kevin (Colin Baiocchi), who relieves himself into a demonstration toilet on a showroom floor at the beginning and end of the movie.

We have another durable candidate for a slew of Razzie Awards given to the worst movies of the year.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


Review Below By:
Jolene Mendez of

2.5 out of 4 Stars


Every couple goes through their own share of drama. But most don’t travel to an exotic locale to share their stories. In “Couples Retreat” Jason (Jason Bateman) and Cynthia (Kritsen Bell) announce to their close friends that they are on the verge of divorcing and the only thing they can do to salvage what marriage they have left is to go to Eden. Eden is located in the Caribbean on the beautiful blue waters. If they can convince their friends to go with them they will get a great group rate and get to participate in water activities, delicious cuisines and negotiable couple’s skill building.

Upon arrival the couples are in awe of the amazing location and the huts they will be staying in right on the water. At their first dinner they look forward to the following days activities until they receive their itinerary, which consist of 6am couples skills building followed by therapy sessions. When they learn the skill building and therapy is not negotiable to enjoy the entire amenities of the facility they decide to partake. As they talk about their feelings they find that they have a lot to learn about each other and growing to do as a couple. Dave (Vince Vaughn) and Ronnie (Malin Akerman) find that they don’t communicate as much as they use to; Joey (Jon Favreau) and Lucy (Kristin Davis) find that they are stuck in their marriage and seem very unhappy as they have been together since high school; Shane (Faizon Love) and his girlfriend Trudy (Kali Hawk) learn they have nothing in common as all Shane does is talk about his wife who he recently split from and the couple responsible for the entire trip take the sessions to heart and can’t seem to enjoy a minute in paradise.

Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn do a great job at entertaining the movie watchers. This film is not a slam dunk, but you need to go in and understand what you are watching. It is another comedy that is full of obscene motives, gestures, discussions and anything you come to expect from Vince Vaughn. “Couples Retreat” is a comedy that most couples will enjoy; I know my husband and I found ourselves laughing continuously. The scenery alone is worth the cost of a ticket price. Bora Bora was a beautiful location to film at and added that much needed taste of paradise to a rather bitter sweet subject of a troubled marriage.

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