Couples Retreat Review
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As the days get shorter and shorter and the temperatures start to drop, it’s the perfect time from director Peter Billingsley to release his first film, Couples Retreat, a couples-friendly romantic comedy that’s filled with sparkling water and sandy beaches. After a few too many gloomy fall afternoons, it hardly even matters if the movie’s any good, does it? The tropical setting alone makes it worth the price of admission—though a few stress-relieving laughs make it even better.

Co-writers Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau head up an enjoyable ensemble cast in this fun-loving and outrageous comedy about marriages under fire. After a long and stressful year, Jason and Cynthia (Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell) are considering divorce—but, before they make their final decision, they want to give it one last shot. They’re hoping to try the radical marriage counseling at the tropical Eden Resort, but they can only afford the trip if they can talk their friends into the package deal.

Convinced that they’re in for a week of sun and fun while Jason and Cynthia work on their marriage, three more couples agree to go along for the ride. But once they arrive at the resort, they discover that the couples’ skill building sessions aren’t optional.

Each couple is paired with an eccentric therapist—and instead of strengthening their marriages, the therapy sessions start to drive the couples apart. In fact, the therapists’ observations—no matter how kooky they may be—expose issues that are common enough to make even the happiest of couples in the audience squirm in their seats just a bit. But Couples Retreat is a romantic comedy—not a moody drama. So it comes as no big surprise when many of the pairs manage to find some sort of happy ending before the credits roll—while offering plenty of hilarity in the process.

Formulaic and predictable? You bet it is. But Couples Retreat isn’t the kind of movie you see when you’re in the mood for something smart and thought-provoking. It’s an entertaining comedy that offers some outrageous laughs (and a few girls in bikinis) for the guys and a bit of romance (and a hot yoga instructor) for the girls.

The movie’s biggest draw, however, is its cast. It’s always fun to watch Vaughn and Favreau play off each other—even if they do tend to slip into their same old schtick. Meanwhile, Faizon Love is lovably clueless as the rebounding divorcee, and Malin Akerman, who plays Vaughn’s wife, has never been better (then again, that’s not saying much, so you can take it for what it’s worth). And there are plenty of amusing cameos and minor characters to add to the fun.

Of course, like most comedies, Couples Retreat has its comedic hits and misses—and while some scenes are laugh-out-loud funny, others are random and awkward and much too long. Fortunately, though, the hits generally outweigh the misses. And even though Couples Retreat isn’t an exceptional (or even particularly memorable) comedy, it still makes an entertaining retreat from real life.

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