As a lover of film and a person who is devoted to writing about them here for my adoring crowd (all three of you), I try to pay attention during movies. I take a notepad and jot down my thoughts as the picture goes on. It helps immensely, ensuring that I am able to properly convey how and why a movie succeeds or fails. When Couples Retreat started, my journalistic tactic was all but forgotten. After about 20 minutes of this dismally unfunny movie, I stopped taking notes because I was in shock from its enormous stupidity. Having only been hours since I walked out of the theater, I have already begun to erase this movie from my mind. Therefore, I don't have much to say. Just keep in mind that there is no reason, under any circumstance, that you should ever watch Couples Retreat.
The set-up of the movie is about as contrived as anything I've seen recently. Jason (Jason Bateman) and Cynthia (Kristen Bell) are having marital problems. They are considering a divorce, but feel that it is best to try to work through their problems before they make that decision. They decide that their best bet is to go to a tropical island called Eden where they can take part in relational activities that they hope will give them the answers they are looking for. Unfortunately, it's a tad expensive and they can't afford it, but there is a special group rate if four couples go together. So they talk their friends, who include fellow couples Dave (Vince Vaughn) and Ronnie (Malin Akerman), Joey (Jon Favreau) and Lucy (Kristin Davis), and Shane (Faizon Love) and Trudy (Kali Hawk), into going with them, as a kind of vacation.
There are so many problems with just the initial set-up that it boggles the mind. Why, pray tell, is there a discount rate for couples of four or more? I don't know about you, but I've never heard of a discount rate for multiple couples going to marriage counseling, that all have the same marital problems, no less.
Then you can take into account the never quoted, but assumably high price of the island resort and the impossibilities that should impede certain characters from going. The trip costs seemingly thousands of dollars once all is said and done. It's all inclusive, which means you never have to pay for drinks, food, or anything else. One can only assume that the price of the resort coupled with the plane tickets is enough to put a dent into anybody's pocket. Shane doesn't even have the money to buy a motorcycle, yet he has enough to go on this expensive trip. Dave works overtime most days as a video game publisher and the newest iteration of their flagship franchise is due out in less than a month. This is the most crucial time of the year for his business, but he takes a week off anyway to go to the resort. Does any of this make sense?
Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, two of the three writers of this catastrophe (the third is Dana Fox, the woman responsible for the putrid What Happens in Vegas--I'm still waiting for an apology for that one), went from Swingers to monogamy at a couples retreat. How quickly the mighty have fallen. Despite their mostly impressive resumes in writing, acting and, for Favreau, directing, this is a huge misstep.
The fact is that the talents of this terrific ensemble cast are completely wasted. The excellent comedic chemistry Favreau and Vaughn displayed in Swingers and Made is completely absent. Jason Bateman, whose hilarity knows no bounds, is relegated to jokes about his excessive slide slow presentations. The film is loaded to the brim with immature sexual and gay jokes, including an entire scene devoted to a yoga instructor who basically dry humps the entire gang while saying "Boom" during every thrust. Sophisticated, this is not. One, maybe two jokes land in the entire movie. The rest produce a confused, cocked eyebrow look, partly out of frustration and partly because everything you're looking at is so insipid and insulting.
There is a Guitar Hero sequence in the back half of Couples Retreat that is as embarrassingly bad as they come. Just when you think the film can't get any less funny--bam!--it does. Quite frankly, it's shocking. There's no prudent character development, no emotion and not a shred of humor to be found in the entire thing. Everyone involved in this movie has had their fair share of stinkers, but this is one they should all be ashamed of.
Couples Retreat receives 0.5/5