• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

Couples Retreat

Couples Retreat

Directed by Peter Billingsley. Starring Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell, Kali Hawk, Jean Reno, Peter Serafinowicz, Carlos Ponce, John Michael Higgins, Ken Jeong. (2009, PG-13, 113 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Oct. 9, 2009

Intelligence is insulted at every turn in this new date movie from former "swingers" Vaughn and Favreau, who now write themselves roles as middle-aged men grown flabby in both body and spirit. Joining these co-stars and co-writers in this affront to moviegoers is screenwriter Dana Fox (who scripted What Happens in Vegas, another love-found-out-of-town story) and actor/producer and, now, director Billingsley (who will probably remain best known as Ralphie, the kid who sorely wants a BB gun, in the beloved A Christmas Story). Vaughn also produces and, as the film's top-lined star, plays the only happily married man in this story's quartet of couples who are induced to go on a weeklong couples retreat in support of their pals Jason (Bateman) and Cynthia (Bell), whose failed attempts to procreate have driven their marriage to a state of near-divorce. Four couples are needed in order to obtain the more affordable Pelican Package rate, but Jason and Cynthia's carefully prepared PowerPoint presentation assures the others that they will not have to partake in the resort's couples-therapy sessions. The group – including Shane (Love), the divorced man who is shown in his introductory scene as not even having enough money to qualify for a loan to buy a motorcycle – takes off the very next week for the exotic locale. Of course, nothing goes as planned as everyone is forced into therapy, where the psychobabble eats away at the various marriages (especially the one happy union) and a "couples whisperer" by the name of Monsieur Marcel (Reno in an embarrassing mankini) conducts pointless daily exercises. Several random sequences follow in succession: a badly choreographed shark attack, a massage that requires a self-serve happy ending, ridiculous therapy sessions, a Fabio look-alike yoga instructor (Ponce) who provides the requisite homophobic sight gags, and a renegade excursion to the singles' side of the resort where, magically, everything resolves. Even Shane's ex-wife suddenly materializes. Logic and credibility are defied at almost every opportunity. Even so, some of this might have worked if the script was, say, funny. Couples Retreat was edited down from an R to a PG-13 rating prior to release, though I doubt we'll discover any excised gems once the director's cut comes out on DVD. Yes, there is scenery that looks good enough to be a screensaver, as one of the characters exclaims, and of course, the background offers an endless array of scantily clad hardbodies. But before booking a ticket, I urge you to retreat.

READ MORE
More Vince Vaughn Films
Unfinished Business
The crude humor and cloying sentiment of Vince Vaughn's latest comedy make it a dud

William Goss, March 13, 2015

Delivery Man
Vince Vaughn stars in this remake of a sweet Canadian film about a prolific sperm donor whose contributions catch up with him 20 years later.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Nov. 22, 2013

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Café Society
A lesser Woody Allen film, but not without its pleasures

July 29, 2016

Jason Bourne
The former CIA op resurfaces in a new era of electronic surveillance

July 29, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Couples Retreat, Peter Billingsley, Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell, Kali Hawk, Jean Reno, Peter Serafinowicz, Carlos Ponce, John Michael Higgins, Ken Jeong

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)