Friday, 9 October 2009

Couples Retreat: Movie Review

Couples Retreat: Movie Review

Rating: 5/10
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Jean Reno, Peter Serafinowicz, Temuera Morrison
Director: Peter Billingsley
We all know life sometimes gets in the way of relationships - whether it's work, kids or commitments, we're all a bit guilty of maybe neglecting (to a degree) the one we love.
Couples Retreat (starring a group of the Frat Pack) is the tale of 4 couples who head to an island resort at the insistence of one of their own who are on the verge of divorce - and see the getaway as a last make-or-break chance.
The quartet of couples all have their issues - there's Jon Favreau's Joey and Kristin Davis' Lucy who are at the stage of their marriage where they can't stand the sight of each other; Jason Bateman's suffocating Jason and Kristen Bell's Cynthia who (as mentioned) are on the verge of divorce; Faizon Love's divorced Shane and his 20-year-old girlfriend and Vince Vaughn's Dave and Malin Akerman's Ronnie - who to be fair are the strongest of the couples and whose only real problem is getting time together.
Once on the Paradise Island, the gang soon realise what they'd expected to be a vacation is more about therapy, building and strengthening relationships and talking - than partying and enjoying it.
The cracks begin to form in all four of the couples as they realise what's demanded of them&
Written by Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn (a reteaming of the Swingers gang), you'd expect Couples Retreat to be a riotous laugh a minute look at relationships during a retreat on a paradise island.
And that's what the trailer hinted at...
But yet Couples Retreat is not exactly comedy - it's probably more truthful to say it's a drama with a few deadpan good one liners thrown in - as well as some solid performances - including Jason Bateman who continues to shine on screen.
For the first time on screen, I've actually warmed to a character played by Vince Vaughn; usually boorish, his Dave is probably his most reality grounded and mature role ever which sees you sympathising with his plight as he and Ronnie begin to realise everything's not perfect in their lives.
Most of the laughs from Couples Retreat come from the side characters; from Peter Serafinowicz's contemptuous, sneering, deadpan island host Stanley to Carlos Ponce's terrifyingly creepy yoga instructor (trust me you'll never look at a yoga instructor the same way again) the supporting characters are the ones which are on screen caricatures. Sadly Temuera Morrison is there simply as an island style sidekick to Jean Reno's pompous Monsieur Marcel.
There are some great one liners and moments in Couples Retreat - but if you're expecting more than that, you will leave sorely disappointed. Granted, it's a more mature film, it just could have done with being a little funnier in places given the wealth of talent involved.

If, however, you're looking for a film which takes couples whose lives have been battered by the day to day pressures of modern life and forces them to re-evaluate, then a word of caution - Couples Retreat may find you leaving the cinema, thinking your relationship could do with a spruce up and makeover.

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