Couples Retreat (Blu-ray)

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Vince Vaughn as Dave
Jason Bateman as Jason
Faizon Love as Shane
Jon Favreau as Joey
Malin Akerman as Ronnie
Kristen Bell as Cynthia
Kali Hawk as Trudy
Tasha Smith as Jennifer
Carlos Ponce as Salvadore
Peter Serafinowicz as Scanley
Jean Reno as Marcel
Temuera Morrison as Briggs
Jonna Walsh as Lacey
Gattlin Griffith as Robert
Colin Biaocchi as Kevin
John Michael Higgins as Therapist #1
Ken Jeong as Therapist #2
Jim McMahon as Magician

Special Features:
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes & Extended Scenes with Commentary by Actor/Co-writer/Producer Vince Vaughn and Director Peter Billingsley
- Gag Reel
- Therapy’s Greatest Hits
- Paradise Found: Filming In Bora Bora
- Behind the Yoga
- Feature Commentary by Actor/Co-writer/Producer Vince Vaughn and Director Peter Billingsley

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 114 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Vince Vaughn leads an all-star cast in the laugh-out-loud comedy about eight friends whose vacation in paradise is one they’ll never forget. Their group-rate vacation comes at a price when they discover that participation in the resort’s unconventional couples therapy activities is anything but optional. Co-starring Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell and Malin Akerman, ‘Couples Retreat’ is a hilarious party in paradise, loaded with laughter and fun!”

“Couples Retreat” is rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.

The Movie:
It’s the bit players in “Couples Retreat” that get the lion’s share of the laughs. It’s Reno’s quirky mystic Marcel, and Serafinowicz’s stuffy host Scanley (pronounced Stanley but spelled with a ‘C’), and Ponce’s ripped Yoga instructor Salvador – even though he is basically playing the same role Hank Azaria played in “Along Came Polly.”

Then there is the awesome John Michael Higgins as Therapist #1 and Ken Jeong as Therapist #2, who supply some good laughs counseling Dave/Ronnie and Jason/Cynthia, respectively.

Heck, the biggest laughs were provided by young Colin Biaocchi, who plays Vaughn’s youngest boy Kevin.

And, was that former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon playing the magician on the kid’s birthday party early on in the film?! Yes. Yes it was.

While the banter between Vaughn, Favreau and Bateman was good, there is just not enough of it.

The scenery of “Couples Retreat” is stellar. Filmed on location at the St Regis Bora Bora, which was transformed into the Eden Resort for the movie, the crystal blue waters, lush island greenery and posh luxury living would make most anyone run a search on Expedia to see just how much it would cost to stay there (Note: It’s a lot.).

The ‘other scenery’ isn’t bad either. Akerman, Davis and Bell are on full display during their screen time and a trip to the singles part of Eden offers up some additional visual stimulation.

“Couples Retreat” probably looked hysterical on paper, but for some reason, on screen, it isn’t as funny. I’m not sure if I should fault director Peter Billingsley or the ensemble cast that had as many flat moments as funny ones.

Love and Hawk’s screen time isn’t very good and a touch over done, and Hawk’s character Trudy was extremely grating, which was likely on purpose… and unfunny, which obviously was not on purpose. Even Love’s post-credits take on the Federal Reserve falls flat.

I felt badly for the other female leads – Akerman, Davis and Bell. They are not given a whole lot to do here other than running around half-clothed most of the film – whether it is during the initial session with Marcel when they are all told to disrobe, or Davis’ encounter at the spa or Bell’s inebriation that prompts a strip and dip in the nearby lagoon.

In all, “Couples Retreat” is funny, but ultimately disappointing due to the ‘what could have been’ factor. All of this could have been a factor of the PG-13 rating. The movie was initially going to be an R-rated film, but that was ultimately changed. Too bad really, because it seemed to me a lot of laughs were left on the table with this one… and that’s a shame. As a fan of Vaughn’s fast-talking smackery, Favreau’s nervous, buckshot rambles and Bateman’s cool, left-of-center deliveries, I figured on a movie that would leave my sides in flames from laughter. Instead, I got a chuckle-worthy rom-com that had its moments, but that I have no burning desire to see again

The Extras:
There’s a pretty large selection of bonus features on this Blu-ray. The Alternate Ending shows all our characters landing back at the airport in Chicago. They all say their goodbyes and the film ends on a whimper rather than the big laugh of the theatrical version. You’ll also find a batch of “Deleted Scenes & Extended Scenes” with commentary by Vaughn and director Peter Billingsley. Most notable in the deleted scenes are several moments showing Jon Favreau and Kristin Davis cheating on each other early in the movie. The scenes certainly made their characters less sympathetic. “Therapy’s Greatest Hits” shows the therapists cutting loose in the sessions and ad-libbing scenes, often causing the actors to lose it. Those bits were definitely R-rated. “Paradise Found: Filming In Bora Bora” is pretty self explanatory and it shows the beautiful resort they filmed at in Bora Bora. “Behind the Yoga” shows all the work that went into creating the awkward yoga scene. Rounding things out are the gag reel and audio commentary.

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