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Review: Couples Retreat

bill bodkin reviews the latest rom-com hit …

The experience of watching Couples Retreat is much like the premise of the film: It’s a fun escape.

And despite what critics have said and despite what negative notions you might have about this film, I have to say it is well worth seeing — whether in theaters or on DVD. It’s the type of comedy where you can check your brain and your problems at the door and be entertained. I saw this film after what can be considered one of least favorite weeks of 2009, and I have to say it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Let’s get the negative out of the way first. Is this movie predictable? Yes. Is it a little ridiculous at times? Yes.

And that’s where the negative ends.

To me, anything that has Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau in it (although it wasn’t really marketed as a Vaughn/Favreau flick, despite the fact they wrote it), already has a head start in the “awesome” category for me. Swingers was a work of pure awkward comedy genius, while Made was a fun and cleverly produced gangster comedy that gets overlooked by most.

The plot of Couples Retreat is quite simple. Anal retentive couple (Jason Bateman and Kristen “Sarah Marshall” Bell) are on the verge of divorce and believe that heading to the couples island known as “Eden” will save their marriage. Of course, they don’t have a lot of cash money, so they ask their friends (Vince Vaugh/Malin Ackerman, Jon Favreau/Kristen Davis, Faizon Love/Kali Hawk) to join them in order to get a group rate. The couples agree, with expectations that Bateman & Bell will work on their marriage while the rest can spend a week in paradise — which of course won’t happen.

It turns out all of the couples are put to a rigorously funny routine of couples therapy. During their “sessions,” they encounter the island’s staff — a gaggle of popular comic actors: Peter Serafinowicz, John Michael Higgins, Ken Jeong and Jean Reno — all which result in hilarity.

And while the sight gags and prat falls during these sessions evoke plenty of chuckles, it’s the interaction between Vaughn, Favreau, Bateman and Love (all co-stars in a number of films), that makes Couples Retreat a real “treat.” (If I throw anymore word puns into this review, please slap me.) Their constant one-liners, bickering and physical comedy are spot on throughout the entire movie, and most importantly, it all makes sense within the world of the film. There’s no comedy just for the sake of comedy here — something many films today forget.

So, is Couples Retreat on par with previous Vaughn/Favreau flicks? The answer is no, and this isn’t due to quality — it’s due to the fact the duo has created a lighthearted PG-13 comedy instead of their usually salty, off-the-wall, awkward R-rated flicks that brought them to the forefront of Hollywood. If you’re only looking classic Vaughn/Favreau stuff, you might want to rent this movie and do a double-feature of it with Swingers.

However, with that said, Couples Retreat is still an extremely enjoyable movie that will transport you from a world of worry to a state of much-needed comedic relief.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, Disney+ shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.
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