Couples Retreat (Lonely Devil)
Seeing the previews for Couples Retreat and seeing the big name actors like Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, and Jason Bateman, it looked like comedy gold from first glance. In Olympic terms, I give it a bronze medal, close to silver however. While flaws were evident, the film did amuse.
Making his directorial debut was Peter Billingsley, Ralphie from A Christmas Story. Billingsley seems to have joined Vaughn’s boys club now with Favreau and Bateman as they’ve all worked together in the past with, The Break-Up. Here he gets to work with a script penned by Vaughn, Favreau, and Dana Fox. While some of the jokes such as the “Guitar Hero” scene fall flat, others were quite amusing.
The premise here is about four couples, with four different sets of problems, coming together and trying the rebuild on their relationships, some without even knowing they needed the help. Bateman and Kristin Bell (TV’s Veronica Mars) are the couple that is seemingly happy, but are torn apart since they can’t conceive. Favreau and Kristin Davis (TV’s Sex and the City) are former high school sweethearts, who stay together because of having a child early in life. Faizon Love and Kali Hawk are the newly together mismatched couple that are together because of Love’s desire for a rebound after a failed marriage. Vaughn and Malin Akerman (Watchmen) are the normal working couple with two kids who have their issues hidden from everyone and even themselves.
When these eight people get to the resort “Eden”, they are forced to confront their issues and themselves. Watching this actually can hit close to home, even for a newlywed such as myself. I found that I can, in fact, relate in some way to some of the scenes and messages delivered here. For that I give kudos to Billingsley for making this film a bit too close to home but yet a laugh out loud comedy.
In most movies, it’s the side characters that help it excel; here it’s no different. Jean Reno is a riot as the guru of couples rebuilding. His staff, which includes John Michael Higgins and Ken Jeong (who seems to be in a lot of films this year such as The Hangover, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, and All About Steve) as therapists, do a great job mixing comedy with a serious tone as well.
While certain scenes are drawn on and drag, others such as the yoga scene make up for it. While most of that moment can be seen in trailers, the full scene is very funny. Speaking of scenes in the trailers, many of the character background building scenes such as Favreau’s waitress romp and Davis’ SUV quickie are cutting room floor victims.
Watching this film is a nice couple’s feature to go spend time together and have a few laughs with a few messages delivered to think about. I give Couples Retreat 3 pitchforks.
In reality, I give it 2 1/2 pitchforks. I found myself torn in the middle here. It left me with food for thought, but also some cheap laugh attempts that had me pining over past films with the Vaughn/Favreau team-up. While enjoyable, my expectations were not quite hit.
Posted on October 12, 2009, in Lonely Devil Review and tagged Couple's Retreat, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Kristin Bell, Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman, movie, movie review, The Hangover, Vince Vaughn, Watchmen. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.