Couples Retreat: A grueling couple’s therapy session

“Couples Retreat,” which features an ensemble cast of usually dependable actors, fails in its attempt to deliver the laughs promised in the advertisements and ultimately ends up functioning as more of a couple’s therapy session than anything else.

By Cody Naylor

Staff Writer

Couples Retreat,” which features an ensemble cast of usually dependable actors, fails in its attempt to deliver the laughs promised in the advertisements and ultimately ends up functioning as more of a couple’s therapy session than anything else.

The plot centers around four couples who, despite their busy lives, all agree to take a vacation together in order to get the group rate. Their destination, Eden Resort, is a facility that specializes in rekindling the flame of burnt-out marriages. While only one couple initially admits to having problems, the mandatory therapy sessions and couples activities that the group is forced to endure eventually bring light all the issues that each couple is facing.

Funnyman Vince Vaughn’s signature rapid rants that work so well in films, such as “Wedding Crashers,” come across as crass and insensitive in this movie mainly because he plays a father and husband who experiences serious marital issues. Malin Akerman (“Watchmen,” “27 Dresses”), who portrays Vaughn’s wife, gives perhaps the most consistent performance in the film with her character coming across as the motherly stick in the mud throughout almost the entire film.

Jason Bateman, who was hilarious in the short-lived TV series “Arrested Development,” manages to bring to life one of the most annoying movie characters in recent memory. His character’s controlling, anal-retentive personality not only grates on the nerves of the audience, but also on the nerves of his wife, played by Kristen Bell (“Veronica Mars,” Forgetting Sarah Marshall). Bell’s character actually comes across as the most likeable only because of all the sympathy that Bateman’s character drums up for her.

There is also sympathy to be had for Faizon Love’s (“The Perfect Holiday,” “Idlewild”) divorcé character, that is until the audience is introduced to the irritating, stereotypical 20-year-old party girl, played by relative newcomer Kali Hawk, with whom he is rebounding.

Kristin Davis (“Sex and the City”) leaves behind her days of nice girl Charlotte and plays a rather Samantha-like woman who is sick of her has-been husband portrayed by Jon Favreau (“Open Season,” “The Big Empty”) who honestly should stick to directing and shorter cameo appearances.

The most disappointing performance of the film belongs to veteran French movie star, Jean Reno. Reno’s recent quest to make his mark on American comedy has been rather unsuccessful with his role in “Pink Panther 2” falling flat and his performance in “Couples Retreat” simply not coming across as funny.

Despite the film’s annoying characters and their various issues, the final ten minutes of the film is quite enjoyable; mainly because the movie is finally coming to its predictably happy ending.

If you are considering the movie for a date night, don’t. If you and your significant other are shopping the market for a couple’s therapist, put down the phone book and go see this movie. It just might end up solving your problems for you.

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