Vince Vaughn has declared war on audiences. His pact with the Devil nearly complete, he has punished moviegoers with a trifecta of bad movies starting with 2007's Fred Claus. Four Christmases wasn't nearly as bad, but still terrible. And now, the once-funny actor has given us Couples Retreat, an unfunny and unimpressive romantic comedy that also stars Kristin Bell, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman and Jean Reno.
In Couples Retreat, one such couple (Bell and Bateman) decide that their last chance at salvaging their marriage is an unconventional retreat at a tropical resort. They enlist their friends to come along with them to get a group rate, and suddenly what was one unhappy couple has become four. Tropical antics ensue.
The sitcom plot is only one of the problems with this contrived movie, which can best be described as a major waste of talent. All of the actors involved have the ability to be great when given the right role, but all are reduced to annoying shells of characters. Vaughn's criteria for taking a movie these days seems to be a script containing sarcastic one-liners (sadly, he co-wrote this movie), few of which are even remotely funny (the funny ones are shown in the trailers). Favreau should stick to directing, and Reno to serious films. Bateman is completely wasted.
Despite the acting talent involved in the movie, first-time director Peter Billingsley and screenwriters Vaughn, Favreau and Dana Fox press all the wrong buttons. When they should have focused their efforts on developing witty dialogue to complement the actors, they instead emphasize situational comedy. What's funnier than seeing Vaughn almost getting killed by a foot-long shark? Or Favreau attempting to get a happy ending from a masseuse? Or a yoga instructor faux-humping all four women? Or Kali Hawk whining her way through one scene after the next? Couples Retreat is a cluttered mess of random scenes that do little to develop the characters or take advantage of the talent at its disposal.
Couples Retreat isn't as bad as Vaughn's other recent disasters, but it's still a shockingly flat comedy that confirms the actor has gotten completely off track. The DVD includes a feature commentary with Vaughn and Billingsley, an alternate ending, deleted scenes, a gag reel and a making-of featurette, but no special feature could be good enough to make this worth even a rental.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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