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COUPLES RETREAT

SYNOPSIS:
Dave (Vince Vaughn) and wife Ronnie (Malin Akerman) are happily married with two young sons as is Joey (Jon Favreau) and wife Lucy (Kristin Davis). Shane (Faizon Love) has recently divorced from Jennifer (Tasha Smith) and has taken up with 20 year old Trudy (Kali Hawk). But Jason (Jason Bateman) and wife Cynthia (Kristen Bell) are crumbling under the pressure of trying to conceive and in a bid to save their marriage, come up with the idea for all of them to spend a luxurious week together at the Eden tropical island resort. Itís cheaper that way. Besides, think of the fun they can have while working on their relationships.

Review by Louise Keller:
If you feel like a date movie with a little romance, big laughs, witty dialogue, appealing characters and a spectacular location, this is not it. Mind you, the spectacular Bora Bora location with its sparkling cerulean waters surrounding the luxury bures is real, but the rest is just tedium, embarrassment and an insult to audiences who might be conned into thinking they might be buying a ticket to a little escapist fun.

To begin with, Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau have much more to offer than this hackneyed, predictable script in which the only character that comes out unscathed is oversized Afro-Cuban comedian Faizon Love. In the first act, we are given a run down on the chaotic lives of the four couples who decide to sign up for 'The Pelican Package' at Eden West, the ultimate playground for couples. It is Power-Point addict Jason (Jason Bateman), who convinces his best friends to join him for a week 'in Paradise' in a last ditch attempt to salvage their marriage. All that strain from the fertility clinic has impacted adversely on their marriage. Then it's off to Bora-Bora, the palace of solitude where guests can luxuriate in hot tubs, enjoy the four star restaurant and partake in the mandatory 'Couples Skill Building' course. Of course, they don't know it's mandatory until they get there.

Jean Reno is the Couples Whisperer, who whips his students into submission before sunrise. There's a lame scene in which Vaughn is terrified by the prospect of circling sharks in the tranquil waters, and there is unfunny dialogue as therapists question each of the couples about their relationships (Ken Jeong from The Hangover is wasted as one of the therapists.) Of course, the couples who were 'happily married' quickly become estranged and there is an embarrassing side plot involving the hunky Salvadore (Carlos Ponce), the yoga instructor who makes his entrance from the sea and proceeds to demonstrate intimate poses in his bathers. Things get even worse as the couples head towards Eden East, where the single swingers let it all hang out and not one single character seems real. The only real moment is in the bathroom appliance store at the beginning of the movie, when Vaughn's 5 year old screen son pees in a display toilet unit. Now, we can relate to that.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

COUPLES RETREAT (M)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell, Faizon Love, Kali Hawk and Jean Reno

PRODUCER: Scott Stuber, Vince Vaughn

DIRECTOR: Peter Billingsley

SCRIPT: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Dana Fox

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eric Edwards

EDITOR: Dan Lebental

MUSIC: A. R. Rahman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Shepherd Frankel

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 8, 2009







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