Couples Retreat, the new rom-com from writers Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, is neither romantic nor comedic. For the most part it’s just plain mean. Watching scene after scene of husbands and wives yelling at each other gets tiresome. We get it, they have problems. Now on with the story already, please.
It’s too bad there’s not much of a story to tell though. There are four couples: Joey (Jon Favreau) and Lucy (Kristin Davis), Shane (Fazion Love) and Trudy (Kali Hawk), Dave (Vince Vaughn) and Ronnie (Malin Akerman), and Jason (Jason Bateman) and Cynthia (Kristen Bell). Jason and Cynthia aren’t sure if they’re going to be able to make it in their marriage. Cynthia is having trouble conceiving and it’s putting a strain on the relationship. In order to try and save their marriage, Jason and Cynthia find a couples resort that they can go to, located in paradise. The one catch is that they get a group rate if they bring three other couples. Just like the hilarious coincidences from any random sitcom out there, it just so happens that Jason and Cynthia know three other couples. Wow, what are the odds?
So, they head off to Eden, a paradisaical wonderland. Crystal clear, shimmering blue water, lush green forests, and white sand beaches as far as the eye can see. Eden West houses the couples who are there to work on their relationships in an intensive couples building program. Eden East is home to the singles sex party. It’s all too obvious that at some point our group of miscreants will find their way over to Eden East, so who cares. The rest of the troupe acts like a bunch of children when they find out that instead of riding jet-skis and sleeping in, they’ll instead be participating in strenuous relationship building activities.
Favreau’s character is probably the worst of the bunch. Here he plays the same exact pompous ass that he played in I Love You, Man. It’s starting to wear a bit thin. Vaughn has some funny one-liners, like he always does, but for the most part he is way too Vince Vaughn-y for his own good. At times his ad libbed rants go on forever with no end in sight.
Couples Retreat is like a glorified sitcom, even carrying on the age-old tradition of arrogant, slob husbands having smoking hot, understanding wives. For most of the film’s runtime we are treated to people who supposedly love each other who continuously yell at each other. It just becomes so tedious that in the end we don’t care if they make up. We don’t care what happens to these people, because they aren’t likable in the first place. A movie that can make Jason Bateman appear as an indignant egomaniac is truly too mean.
The movie was filmed in picturesque Bora Bora. The scenery is far more entertaining and better to look at than anything the actors are doing. To the film’s credit it does seem to support sticking through the rough patches in a marriage and seeing it through. In the end though, it just doesn’t matter because the movie is so mean, so unfunny, and full of such unlikable characters that you'll wish you could take a vacation just to get away from them.