No matter who you go with, when it comes to vacations some fighting and mishaps are bound to happen, but usually there are enough good moments to balance out, if not overpower, the bad. Couples Retreat tries to show these moments of both ups and downs (well, mainly downs), but in the end the trip is far too painful to enjoy.
Of the four couples, Jason and Cynthia are the most willing to admit their relationship has problems. After many years and unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant the stress of the situation has finally reached its peak, and they are contemplating divorce. Feeling that this is their last hope, Jason and Cynthia ask their fellow couples, Dave and Ronnie, Joey and Lucy, and Shane and Trudy to go with them to Eden West, a couples resort on a beautiful, tropical island. When they arrive they are forced to partake in couples counseling, and those couples that assumed they would be spending a vacation having fun in the sun are finding that maybe they have more issues than they thought bubbling under the surface.
This film groups a bunch of great actors together to fill out the cast, including Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis, and Kali Hawk filling various roles of the above mentioned couples. Between them, they all have enough comedic talent to bring this film to life, but unfortunately they are playing a bunch of one-sided whiny roles that are more irritable than hilarious. Of this cast Akerman comes out looking the best because she is the least annoying character of the bunch, but it is actually some of the smallest roles in the film that shine. In concern to the couples, Kali Hawk, who I have never seen before and plays the least important member of one of the couples thanks to her younger woman / rebound girl status actually got the most laughs from me and outshone those with more experience. In addition to Hawk, in easily the funniest scenes of the film, Carlos Ponce plays the smarmy yoga instructor who is a little too touchy feely in his teaching methods, and John Michael Higgins and Ken Jeong are hilarious in their attempts to dole out some helpful observations and encouragement to the couples during their therapy sessions. Unfortunately their scenes are a rarity and the remainder is left to the couples, who remain far from interesting enough to make this film work. The story stretches thin as the movie progresses, losing focus and any resemblance of a decent plot. Though it is most noticeable towards the end, this actually plagues the film’s entirety. To sum it up, Couples Retreat gives off the impression that the script was written around a bunch of humorous situations without giving much thought to the dialog or story on the whole, including one guitar hero scene that is shot more like an high schooler’s attempt at a music video than a film with actual money backing. Sure, sometimes these moments warrant some laughs, just not enough to detract the audience’s attention from the utter lack of a fully developed story.
Couples Retreat shows a lot of promise with this group of actors and the situations they find themselves in, but instead of taking advantage of these elements the film simply drags out and falls flat in its comedy. In actuality I laughed the most when watching the bonus features, but unfortunately you have to rent the film in order to see them, and I just don’t think that is a suggestion I am willing to give.
Final Grade: D