Couples Retreat

Date Tue, October 20 2009

couplesretreatCouples Retreat is a movie which seemed acceptably humurous in previews, despite the inclusion of Vince Vaughn as, you may or may not know, I am not a huge fan of the character (note, single usage) he plays in every movie. Add to that the intrigue of wondering just how one spells “Stanley” with a C and you have a movie both Ryan and I are open to seeing. So we did.

Couples Retreat takes a look at four suburban couples at different stages of happiness and family (by that, I mean children) who head off to Eden resort for a couples retreat at the insistence of one couple (as played by Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell) whose marriage has become miserable from attempting to have a child. Expecting fun in the sun, the group is not-so-pleasantly surprised at mandatory workshops in the itinerary but decide to stick it out anyway.

While I wouldn’t consider any of the cast A list or any of the acting extraordinary, Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman, Faizon Love and Kali Hawk and Jon Favreau and Kristen Davis all prove to be entertaining as couples at one point or another. Vaughn and Akerman are perhaps the happiest couple of all despite never having enough time for one another while Favreau and Davis has found themselves completed disconnected after what feels like a lifetime together. Love and Hawk serve mostly humorous purposes as a man split from his wife trying to feel good about himself with a 20 year old young woman who calls him “Daddy.”

None of the characters are entirely too deep but I am glad to say that Vince Vaughn is continuing to develop his talents as an actor by taking on a more grown up role than usual. There are still typical Vaughn quips as one would expect from a script he helped to write. Of course, this makes it appeal to a broader audience than if it were a chick flick alone. I’m still perplexed why anyone would ever cast him as a leading role but am beginning to feel a fondness for him as an actor. On the other hand, Kristen Davis plays her role much too closely to that of Charlotte in Sex and the City and still hasn’t managed to master the art of facial expressions.

Of course, the unexpected demands of their retreat cause tensions to run dramatically and comedically high. The comedy is varied, sometimes just a line (Let the party begin!) and sometimes an entire scene (Guitar Hero play off anyone?). In the end, everything ties up nicely in a bow, if not a little suddenly. The comedy is enough that you can leave the theater feeling lighthearted and entertained and the movie never feels preachy despite that fact that it is most definitely promoting the sanctity of marriage. I can get down with that. This makes it a good movie to see with your sensitive, comedy loving boyfriend/husband and don’t be surprised if you get a few extra kisses or hand squeezes during the movie (although he may not realize why he’s doing it). This angle might make it more appropriate for audiences older than those who typically view Vaughn’s movies.

It was refreshing to see a movie which takes a slightly higher moral road than most while still proving to be entertaining. It’s not a blockbuster by any means but Couples Retreat manages to retain a greater level of “replayability” than most movies I’ve seen lately.

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