Unreal Movie Review: Couples Retreat


Couples Retreat led the box office this weekend, raking in $35.3 million.  However, if Transformers 2 has taught us anything, it’s that the relationship between good movies and box office success can sometimes be inversely proportional.  With the Swingers duo of John Favreau and Vince Vaughn teaming up again to write a comedy, I figured that even if it’s a romantic comedy, Couples has the potential to be very funny.  I couldn’t have been more wrong, and Couples Retreat is about as vanilla and stale a comedy as I can remember seeing.  Keep reading for the full review.  I’d warn you of spoilers, but honestly, there’s just nothing to spoil.


Chemistry?  What’s that?

Before I begin, I want to note that I’m going to refer to each character as the actor or actress that plays him or her.  Why?  It’s not laziness; it’s because the characters in this movie are so undefinable, cardboard, and cliche that it’s almost impossible to say anything about them other than that they’re played by actors and actresses.  Vince Vaughn plays a stale Vince Vaughn, John Favreau plays a slightly more masculine John Favreau, and Jason Bateman plays an uptight Jason Bateman with a penchant for Power Point presentations.  And oh yeah – Faizon Love plays the one-dimensional, fat, token black guy who’s used primarily to say things like “Bam!” and “Boom!”  Each of the characters is married (except Faizon, who is recently divorced and dating a young girl who is stereotypical to the point of being completely unbelievable) to interchangeable actresses playing interchangeable characters who bring nothing to the film except a common interest in caring about tiles and other “women’s things.”

The premise of the movie is this: Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell are really struggling with their marriage, so they decide to go to Eden, a sort of therapy-in-paradise resort.  The thing is, they can’t afford it.  Bateman and Bell convince the three other couples to join them, as a group rate will kick in and all the couples can go and work out their problems.  And then hilarity ensues, right?  Not even close.


Number one at the box office, baby!

Couples Retreat is bland, unfunny, and generic.  And that’s being kind.  Vaughn and Favreau should be ashamed to have brought this project to the big screen, but I’m guessing they’re probably laughing all the way to the bank.  The thing is, there aren’t any jokes in Couples Retreat.  It’s a series of cliched-yet-awkward situations, and for some reason, Vaughn and Favreau would have you believe that that’s good enough for comedy.  It was like watching a dumbed-down version of “According to Jim” on the big screen.  Here are a couple of examples:

1. Eden’s yoga instructor is a bit overzealous, and so when he “assists” the group in mastering certain yoga positions, it looks like dry humping.   Either that or his crotch is in someone’s face.  That’s the joke.  There’s no witty comments or banter, simply that situation.

2. Jean Reno – who plays the “mastermind” behind the therapy – instructs the couples to face each other and strip naked.  Big, fat Faizon Love isn’t wearing any drawers, though, so he’s got to go naked.  Aren’t fat, naked black guys funny?  Vaughn comments “Now it’s a party.” (he actually says that) and the scene is done.  That’s it.


So if I get naked, that’s funny?

And it’s not just the jokes that fall flat.  The dialogue is painful to listen to – often generic conversations about how women care about dumb shit like  – and the story flows as if Vaughn and Favreau made this up as they went along and decided that the first draft of the script that took 20 minutes to complete was good enough.  When the gang heads over to the other side of the island to find Faizon’s runaway girlfriend, Faizon bumps into…his ex-wife!  Amazing!

Pretty egregiously, John Favreau and his wife (Kristin Davis) continuously go out of their way to cheat on one another (but oops!  Davis’ handsome masseuse is gay – didn’t see that one coming!) and they’re generally huge pieces of shit, but for some reason, we’re supposed to care about them?  We want them to work it out? When Favreau knocks out the overzealous yoga instructor for dancing with his wife, she’s just fine with that, as is he, and the crowd goes on dancing.  And despite all the problems the couples have, they all magically work everything out the night before they leave Eden.  Vomit.  Everywhere.

Couples Retreat is a lazy “comedy” that should embarrass everyone associated with it.  I’m angry at myself for seeing it.  I might have chuckled once, but at no time during the entire movie did I laugh.  Not once.  Pretty pathetic when you take a look at the cast.  Don’t ever waste your time on this one.  And for what it’s worth, I’m not being “macho” in my hatred for this movie – my girlfriend hated it more than I did.

1 out of 5 stars

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  1. A “friend” of mine wanted to go see this last night, and I found myself realizing that the ONLY and I repeat ONLY reason I would want to see this is Jason Bateman. That’s typically enough of a reason for me. Since the cast was so big, I knew that his face time and sarcastic wit would be limited, so I passed. Thank god I did because I cannot stand Vince Vaughn anymore. Glad I saved my money, sorry you lost yours. I think I’d be more pissed at the time lost vs. money lost though.

  2. @ Cheryl

    Oh man, she was annoying as hell. Gotta give it up to the actress who played her, as I am sure that was the point.

    @ Laura

    Wise decision. At least I got an article out of the experience!

    Thanks for reading, ladies.

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