Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Couples Retreat

Couples Retreat is the story of a group of friends that go to an exotic island resort in the hopes of a dream vacation and to help their friends considering a divorce only to find out that the resort is also a heavy duty couples counseling center – and the counseling is not optional. Each of the four couples undergo counseling and discover a whole host of issues they didn’t know they had in this Mars vs. Venus comedy.

While I enjoyed Couples Retreat like I’ve enjoyed any joint venture between Jon Favreau & Vince Vaughn, I can’t quite say the film was cohesive. The movie isn’t as funny as the trailer leads you to believe, but isn’t bad as you might assume it would be; it’s a little clich├ęd and predictable at times, but altogether entertaining – something that I mainly pin on the sense of humor that radiates off the screen from almost all the actors.

What I really enjoyed about Couples Retreat was as always the partnering between Favreau & Vaughn, and I found the introduction of Jason Bateman to the mix fit well. These are actors that know comedy and know how to find the quirky or comedic beat in a moment. This is the men from Swingers if they managed to grow up and have kids outside of the LA scene, and seeing that is kind of enjoyable in a very unique way.

The one large downside to me was the character Faizon Love played; I’m not talking negatively against Love himself or his performance but how he actually appeared in the movie. For most of the scenes, including some major ones Love’s character is simply not there; either he was cut out as much as possible in editing and reshoots based on studio notes, or Love for whatever reason was not on set nearly as much as everyone else and they shot around him. The problem is that this leaves the audience feeling like his character was included for ethnic variety and that his character and conflict is never actually developed past being the sad divorcee.

Couples Retreat is a good movie and a fun watch. If you’re looking for a laugh not based on gross outs or jokes involving bodily fluids I highly recommend it – this film actually derives it’s comedy form pretty real to life situations which is kind of refreshing.

Director: Peter Billingsley
Writers: Job Favreau, Vince Vaughn & Dana Fox
Dave: Vince Vaughn
Jason: Jason Bateman
Shane: Faizon Love
Joey: Jon Favreau
Ronnie: Malin Akerman
Cynthia: Kristen Bell
Lucy: Kristin Davis

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