Monday, November 30, 2009

COUPLES RETREAT - Funless Vacation

Cast: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kali Hawk, and Jean Reno
Director: Peter Billingsley
Time: 107 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: If you have seen the trailer of this movie, you would have seen all the best parts of it. There is nothing left in any manner of comedy or romance in the actual film written by two members of its cast, Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn and co-written by Dana Fox.

For a vacation movie set in a tropical island, it can be rather depressing - and the outcome is so predictable.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Four midwestern American couples sorting out their problems in a vacation-cum-therapy stint. Jason (Jason Bateman) and Cynthia (Kristen Bell) put so much pressure in their need to have a child that they are considering divorce. To avoid this last resort, they plan a therapy treat but need three other couples to make up a group package and save money.

So they 'con' their friends to join in. The other couples are Dave (Vaughn) and Ronnie (Malin Akerman) who seem to have the perfect marriage with two cute kids; Joey (Jon Favreau) and Lucy (Kristin Davis) whose marriage is falling apart but for their teenage daughter; and divorcee Shane (Faizon Love) and his new girlfriend Trudy (Kali Hawk) who is half his age.

Will the Couples Retreat solve their problems?

HITS & MISSES: There's nothing very funny in this comedy that takes almost a quarter of the running time to build-up. Then when we get to Eden, the vacation destination, we are faced with more couples problems instead of the fun stuff like windsurfing, skiing, etc (which goes on at the East side of the island).

What's more, we get the feeling that the cast are taking a vacation from their jobs, given the lame performances and hamming we get on the screen. Jean Reno is unbearable as Frenchman Marcel and John Michael Higgins is annoying as relationship therapist who is incessantly scribbling notes. And as for the main cast, all we get from them are whining and bitching.

THE LOWDOWN: Cancel off this trip.


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