Thursday, October 15, 2009
Movie Review: Couples Retreat
Got up to see an early flick earlier this week, specifically Couples Retreat starring Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Malin Ackerman, Kirstin Davis, Kristin Bell, and Faizon Love. Couples Retreat is very much a feel good romantic comedy that carries its own fair share of laughs for everyone. It doesn't push the envelope of comedy anyway, staying true to the romantic undertones of the film and eschewing the bawdy frat pack humor that Vaughn has made his living on the past few years.
The premise is fairly simple, Jason Bateman (of Arrested Development and Hancock) and wife Kristin Bell (Veronica Mars and Forgetting Sarah Marshal) are the hyper prepared couple, detail oriented and always with a plan. They are having trouble conceiving a child and the stress is putting pressure on their marriage. They convince their friends to join them on a couples retreat at an island paradise, full of fun events and allegedly optional couples activities and workshops in an attempt to salvage their marriage. The kicker is the vacation is to expensive for them alone, the deal they got only works if they can bring 3 other couples. Vaughn (Wedding Crashers, The Break Up) is married to Malin Ackerman (of Watchmen fame) who are the "normal" couple. Harried by the kids and house remodeling, with Vaughn's hard work schedule, they have never really taken the time for themselves. Jon Favreau (of Swingers and director of Iron Man and Elf) is having marital difficulties with his wife, Kristin Davis (Sex and the City). They are all but divorced, waiting for their teenage daughter to start college before making it official. Faizon Love (Elf, Friday) has divorced his wife and is dating a young 20 year old named Trudy, played by Kali Hawk. Love is having trouble keeping up with the active lifestyle of his younger girlfriend, but doesn't want to dwell on the troubles of his failed marriage and wife, whom he obviously still loves.
Things change when the couples actually get to the island though, finding out that their Eden isn't all it's cracked up to be. The supposedly voluntary events are mandatory and failure to participate means going home. Events like couples counselling that cause more problems than they solve, a swim with the fishes that turns into a vastly overblown shark attack. Yoga sessions that place the couple in compromising positions, and nary a sight of the fun events that they had been promised. Each couples problems are magnified under scrutiny, until in the end, Trudy leaves Love and heads to the Eastern part of the island, a place reserved for single folk only. It's here the couples have to put aside their differences to get Trudy back to their side of the island, but in the face of temptation and the paradise that many of them have so long coveted, the couples have to find out if they have what it takes to stay together, and what love really means.
The movie ends much like any romantic comedy does, but they do tread a fine line of providing some good humor and dialog. It's definitely entertaining enough to make you laugh and have a good time with, offering a little something for everyone. I particularly enjoyed Malin Ackerman's convincing turn as the harried housewife to Vince Vaughn's good natured, albeit lazy, husband. I also think my personal love of Kristen Bell weighed in slightly, though her portrayal as an over organized wife who just can't quite keep up with Bateman's hyper critical smothering husband. The fact they all of the ladies looked great in bikini's didn't hurt either. You also get some funny turns from Jean Reno and John Michael Higgens as staff members.
The downsides in the film are minimal at best. The plot and acting are average and predictable, but they compensate with getting the most out of the comedic performances. Vaughn treads familiar and comfortable territory and Jon Favreau brings some energy in what is becoming his go to role as the manic angry guy. Ackerman and Bell where my favorites in the film, and even Faizon Love brought some much needed apathy to his role and the film.
There are far worse films to check out and I defiantly thought that this was passable, just about the right mixture of what I expected from this type of movie. If you are looking for a fun film to see you certainly get your moneys worth. Overall I enjoyed Couples Retreat, I think you will too.
End of Line.