Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Couples Retreat: DVD Review

Couples Retreat: DVD Review

Couples Retreat

Released by Universal Home Entertainment
Cast: Vince Vaughan, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Peter Serafinowicz, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis
Rating: M

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.

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.

However, that's far from what you get - it's more like a drama with some gags thrown in occasionally - it's disappointing in the extreme given the comedic talent involved.

Though it's worth saying 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.

Extras: A smattering of extras including an alternate ending,gag reel, deleted and extended scenes, a doco on filming in Bora Bora (oh the hardships) and commentary from director and Vince Vaughan round out the package - but ultimately the film is a disappointment.

Rating: 5/10

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