Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Couples Retreat - A Funny Day in Paradise

Couples Retreat

Review by Patrick Hodges

The foibles and pitfalls of married life have been the subject of many a film, and, indeed, many a comedy.  And why not?  Few things are as all-encompassing, as relatable and yet as dramatic as watching people who know the highs and lows of a monogamous relationship.

Jason (Jason Bateman) and Cynthia (Kristen Bell) have hit a rough patch in their marriage, due to Cynthia’s difficulty in conceiving a child.  They believe their last chance to save the marriage is to go do a resort called “Eden”, a place that caters exclusively to couples.  The problem is, they can’t afford to go by themselves, so they convince their friends, three other couples, to join them, promising them a dream vacation.

Unfortunately, when they get there, they realize the fine print:  they must ALL indulge in the “touchy-feely” counseling sessions in order to remain there.  And so, all of these couples who thought they had a bead on their relationship find that Eden isn’t quite the paradise they envisioned.

The most notable cast member is, of course, Vince Vaughn, the king of the fall/winter comedy the last few years.  But even though his is the only name that precedes the title, this is very much an ensemble cast, each of which plays their part to the hilt, including Jon Favreau (who co-wrote the script with Vaughn), Malin Akerman, Faizon Love, Kristin Davis and Jean Reno.

With a cast like this, I was hoping for some laughs, and I got them in spades.  Watching these everyday couples have their marital problems laid bare was both hilarious and painfully poignant at the same time.  And while there were one or two glaring coincidences and plot contrivances to arrive at the fairly predictable ending, it was a truly amusing ride to get there.  (The “Guitar Hero” scene was outrageous!)

There have been a lot of terrific adult comedies this year, like The Hangover and I Love You, Man.  I am happy to say that while Couples Retreat wasn’t quite as enjoyable as those two films, it is quite good.

3 ½ / 5 stars

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