Couples Retreat

Couples Retreat

Directed by Peter Billingsley

Rated M

I’m not quite sure about Vince Vaughn – I thought he was supposed to be funny and intelligent and then he wrote and starred in Couples Retreat, which is maybe occasionally the first, but certainly never the second.

Apart from the misleading title (okay, I’m one of those irritating people who still believes punctuation should help make language clearer despite everything on the internet heading in the other direction, so I thought this was a movie about couples going to hide in the hills somewhere, not going to an island resort on a flimsy premise) there’s nothing particularly offensive about this movie.

There are a lot of slightly offensive aspects though, mainly because of the sheer unoriginality. Seriously, haven’t we had enough of the grown men not comfortable enough with their sexuality so they have to make jokes about other men’s bodies?

And I’ve also seen enough of the supposed reverse feminism where women salivate over beefcake Fabio types who make Barbie’s boobs look small and real. Maybe there are some women somewhere who find that plastic, hairless oily mimbo thing attractive but I’m yet to meet any and the jokes have been done to death.

Vaughn also strays into some deep self-indulgence in this flick, including a sequence where he plays videogame guitar – and it wasn’t even to particularly rockin’ music.

There are some vaguely amusing bits; the therapists are reasonably funny and the dialogue between the friends is actually pretty snappy at times, but mainly it’s a bit dull and a bit obvious and completely unoriginal (except for the afore-mentioned flimsy premise where four couples go to a relationship-building resort because they think the therapy is optional and they’ll be able to spend all the time on jet-skis – I’ve certainly never seen anything like that in a movie before and hopefully I won’t again).

Couples Retreat seems to suffer from a question of identity; it’s never quite clear whether this is a comedy based within relationships with problems that real people might have or trying to say something serious about relationships with a bit of humour.

It doesn’t really do either and the result is the sort of movie you can equate with pre-prepared frozen supermarket meals: there’s no depth, very little taste and you’ve forgotten what it was really like before you’ve even made it to bed.

**


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