Directed by: Peter Billingsley
Premise: Four couples take a trip to an exotic Caribbean island getaway to go through a marriage counseling session.
What Works: Couples Retreat has some funny moments early on and the relationship between the couple played by Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman is interesting to watch as it becomes clear that they have lost a spark to their marriage but have been too busy to notice.
What Doesn’t: Couples Retreat runs into trouble as it begins the second act of the story. The pairs are put through various scenarios in which they are supposed to learn about themselves and each other but neither the characters nor the audience come to any significant revelations. In fact, the only thing that is apparent about the marriages in the film is that the people in them are miserable and ought to have split up before ever getting to the island. And it’s no wonder; the characters are capricious, mean, and ungrateful yuppies with too much money and not enough intelligence or knowledge about themselves or the world. And instead of reforming the characters, Couples Retreat just keeps hammering on the couple’s general dislike of each other. The film has an opportunity to redeem itself in the end as things build to a crisis and characters appear to figure out they would be better off without the other person in their life. But the film retreats from this bolder ending and wraps everything up in a tacky bow that is as artificial as it is unbelievable.
Bottom Line: Couple’s Retreat is a pretty terrible film. It’s not very funny, the characters are annoying, and the film takes absolutely no risks with the story.
Episode: #263 (November 1, 2009)