Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Marcel's Island Therapy

Couples Retreat is just ok. It's definitely not nearly as good as some of Vince Vaughn's other classics. But that's really an unfair standard. They can't all be Wedding Crashers. And you could do worse if you're looking for a comedy -- especially if you want it to be a date movie. Just be warned that you aren't going to laugh as much as you probably expect (and possibly not at all in the last 20 minutes or so).

It stars eight actors playing four couples: Vince Vaughn with Malin Akerman (The Heartbreak Kid, Watchmen), Jason Bateman (star of probably the funniest show-that-nobody-ever-watched Arrested Development) with Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Jon Favreau (who was so money he didn't even know it in Swingers with Vaughn) with Kristin Davis (Sex and the City), and Faizon Love (Elf, Idlewild) with Kali Hawk (basically unknown and really annoying in the movie as 20 year old trying to help Love get over his ex-wife). It is actually the first feature directed by Peter Billingsley (who you know as "Ralphie" from A Christmas Story). And Vaughn and Favreau wrote it. The title pretty much tells the plot of the movie -- the couples take a vacation to an all-inclusive resort, "Eden" to reignite the flames in their marriages. Hilarity ensues, etc., etc.

Despite the big names and beautiful women, the four couples themselves are really not that hilarious. And I found the staff on Eden delivered just as many laughs. Jean Reno (The Professional, Ronin) plays "Marcel," the owner of Eden. And he was probably my favorite character in the movie. John Michael Higgins (The Break Up, Best in Show) and Ken Jeong (Role Models, The Hangover) are also pretty good as therapists. Youngster Colin Baiocchi plays Vaughn and Akerman's youngest son and steals the show for much of the movie when the couples aren't on the island.

Bottom line: The movie reminds me a lot of Four Christmases. It's got some laughs, but you can't help but think that Vaughn and company could have done better. (C)

Here's the preview:

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