“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.
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