“Couples” should retreat from theaters


With Halloween around the corner, moviegoers flock to films that will scare the hell out of them. The wait is finally over, because “Couples Retreat” is the most terrifying film this October. With scenes so unfunny, you may find yourself leaving the theater in terror of knowing that you will see this movie a thousand times on TBS.

“Retreat” follows four couples that lead different life styles but are linked by friendship. As they begin to grow older, their marriages start to suffer from hectic work schedules and kids. While giving a PowerPoint presentation, Jason (Bateman) and Trudy (Bell) announce they will be getting a divorce, unless everyone present accompanies them on a tropical couples retreat. Dave (Vaughn) and Ronnie (Akerman) are forced to go even though they believe their marriage is great. Shane (Favreau) and Lucy (Kristen Davis) each go in hopes of finding a new one-night stand, and recently divorced Joey (Faizon Love) decides to take his new twenty year old girlfriend to get over his ex-wife. Once they reach the resort they realize their “dream vacation” is nothing more than a therapy sessions. As they all begin to dig into their relationships each couple must find the flaw within it in order to fix it.

“Couples Retreat” boasts an all-star comedy cast that should have been great together. Vaughn rants throughout the entire film, but it comes off old and stale. Jason Bateman plays the usual quick witted friend that seems too sophisticated for his own good. Favreau steals every scene as a fast talking ex-football star that lives for adultery, and may be the only reason to see this movie. Love is the worst of the male cast, although his self-deprecating comments provide a chuckle. Malin Akerman does a decent job as the lead female, but her lack of dialogue inhibits her from doing anything worthwhile. Kristin Bell may be beautiful, but there’s nothing pretty about her acting towards the end of the film.

This movie lacks any originality and each scene makes you think of every movie you have seen with the film’s cast in the past five years. The jokes fall flat most of the time, and the movie drags on for the entire second half of the film. The first half does manage to catch some quick laughs, because it always seems like something bigger is going to happen, but nothing does.

Director Peter Billingsley’s first feature length film is a very mediocre one, but it was not entirely his fault. Vaughn and Favreau wrote the story, and while they have made some hilarious movies in the past such as “Swingers,” this story is lackluster. The cinematography is sub-par, but the gorgeous landscape of the island is shown nicely. Some of the sets are nicely done with beautiful tropical designs, but when they’re in the jungle, it truly looks terrible. While this is not a movie based on special effects, I couldn’t help but laugh at the horrible shark sequence that should have been on the Sy-Fy channel.

The original soundtrack by Oscar winner A.R. Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is extremely generic and sounds like the music they blare on cruise ships. The tropical island feeling is definitely there, but it never feels like something new. They did manage to focus on the dialogue by toning down the music when they needed to, and with actors like Vaughn and Favreau, this is a must.

This film does contain some funny moments, but they showed them all in the trailer. The story never amounts to anything, and the end is so horrible that I took away half a star just because they insulted my intelligence. Unless you are desperately looking for a date movie, avoid this film.