Friday, April 9, 2010


Directed by Peter Billingsley, Starring Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell & Jean Reno

Here is a comedy functioning solely on sitcom conventions, complete with a half an hour premise stretched into feature length.  It was written by Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, and though I would not go so far as to call them a dynamic comedy duo, I do expect a few good laughs.  In "Couples Retreat", I only managed to find a few smirks.

Jason (A woefully underused Jason Bateman) and Cynthia (Kristen Bell) are having some very non-specific marital troubles.  The film suggests that Jason is a bit tightly wound, but is that really enough to warrant discussion of divorce? Doubtful, but that is all we have to go on.  Strange that writers as smart and funny as Vaughn and Favreau would completely ignore any real plot development, but there it is.  Back to Jason and Cynthia...

The beleaguered couple manages to talk their friends (all going through troubles of their own, to varying degrees of believability) into joining them at a couples retreat so they can enjoy a nice group rate.  There is nothing to suggest things won't work out in the end, and so they do.  In fact, everyone's issues seem to resolve themselves within the last few minutes of the film.  It is as though someone told them to wrap it up.  One of the resolutions is preposterously lazy, improbably plopping a character into the story at the last second.  Deus ex machina, anyone?

All of this would be mildly forgivable if the film were at least funny.  It is not.  There are surprisingly few jokes here, and nothing that will linger beyond its fleeting moment.  It is an unfortunate animal: a below average comedy with an above average cast. 


No comments:

Post a Comment