Couples Retreat (2009) – Review

3 Stars

This romantic themed comedy dealing with four couples whisked away to a tropical paradise to better develop their relationships may sound trite in the plot description. However the solid and funny screenwriting by Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn and Dana Fox is what keeps Couples Retreat afloat even when the story gets a little corny. The absolutely stunning location shooting in Bora, Bora adds to the majestic beauty and overall good vibe that is built between the charismatic and very appealing cast members. When news hits that Jason (Bateman) and Cynthia (Bell) are headed to a special progressive therapy designed to save marriages their friends aren’t exactly eager to tag along. Until a power-point presentation on the joys of the tropics convinces them otherwise. Dave (Vaughn) and Ronnie (Akerman) are overworked parents juggling home improvements and family responsibilities. Joey (Favreau) and Lucy (Davis) are high school sweethearts long gone sour on each other and Shane (Love) and his new girlfriend Trudy are together for sex and not much else.

Once on the island and checked the resort the resident guru Marcel (Reno) instructs them in the ways to strengthen their bonds to each other. While Jason and Cynthia are there to work on their marriage the other three couples begin to realize that participation in the therapy is not optional. Each couple comes to a big revelation on their own but not without the guidance of the staff and trials faced at the resort. Couples Retreat seems as if the cast had a great time making the film and that enthusiasm and camaraderie spills onto the screen. Vaughn is once again playing the archetypical Vaughn character a big hearted, quick tongued buffoon that ultimately wants to do the right thing. The real standout in the cast is Jon Favreau while his character is the least likable of the group, Favreau’s underrated comedic ability steals the show.

Coming from the screenwriting team that brought us Swingers and Made; Couples Retreat is a worthy follow-up to those much beloved semi-classics. The pace is quick the tone is pleasant, the comedy ranges from raunchy to sweet and the performances are all good. If fault can be found with the film it may be from a lack of really delving deeper into some of the issues raised among the couples. Things are tied up in a neat fashion as per the usual for the genre, however the laughs are consistent and the characters engaging enough to recommend the picture. A silly undemanding viewing experience for couples looking for a few hours retreat.

Director: Peter Billingsley
Stars: Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman

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