Couples Retreat

By Mark Ramsey | 2009/10/15

It has been 13 years since Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn first exploded onto the scene in Swingers, and if any proof were needed, 13 is no lucky number.

Now, “look at all the beautiful babies” has become “Who wants to go to Applebees by themselves?”


Over the years Fav and Vaughn have bedded more Twinkies than beautiful babies, and the expression “you’re so money” has been replaced by “you’re so beyond your body’s natural set point!”

Judging by his appearance on the red carpet, Vaughn’s next role is as a pig in a python.

When it comes to Couples Retreat, Vince brings his patented satirical Vince Vaughn-ness and Favreau plays the kind of role that has made him famous, the role of Ben Stiller celebrity impersonator.

“Listen, we put ‘Retreat’ in the title of the movie. How much more direction do you need than that?” asked Favreau, who perhaps should have called this movie “Couples Run For Your Life, Screaming.”

This is the first time I’ve gone to a movie where the popcorn bags were co-branded for barf use.

Yes, Couples Retreat opened strong. But it opened on a weekend when the only other wide release was the gas released by the guy in the seat behind me. And when your biggest competition is passing wind, almost anything smells good!

Couples Retreat is directed by Peter Billingsley, Ralphie from A Christmas Story, who could have enriched my life better if his tongue had been stuck to a frozen pole.

Kristen Bell is featured as the wife who is slightly cross-eyed, which explains why she saw something in this script nobody else did. Kristen has been trying to buy a ticket on the Reese Witherspoon/Kate Hudson express for some time now, but she can’t seem to be on the right track at the right time.

Charlotte from Sex and the City is here pretending that she will ever be anyone but Charlotte from Sex and the City.

And because all of the couples need skill-building, they set about to meet with therapists and build skills.

“I learned all the exceptions to the ‘i before e’ rule,” said Favreau.

“And I’m now a certified brick layer,” added Vaughn.

Although this movie is designed to be a comedy, there is so much room between laughs Donald Trump has bought the space to build a real estate development on it.


Jean Reno is the mysterious proprietor of this Fantasy Island. Reno is most associated with assassins and murderers which must explain his attraction to a movie so deadly. Reno is the “couples whisperer.”

“Yes, he trained me to pee outside the house,” said Vaughn. “Aerobic use of the refrigerator door, however, is self-taught.”

You can see where this movie is headed from a mile away, which is exactly where I wished I was while watching it.

In the third act, all the loose ends are tied up in such a stunningly unlikely fashion, I’d sooner expect Elvis Presley and Tupac to emerge from hiding and stage a benefit concert just so we could all get our money back.

Cue the inappropriate yoga teacher! Cue the mid-life crisis acting-out! Cue the bare bellies of Vaughn, Favreau, and Faizon Love, and thank your lucky stars that this movie isn’t in 3-D! Cue the gratuitous product placement for Guitar Hero!

Cue the Kristen Bell cross-eyed reaction shot!

Cue dialogue like “Be an ass for love”!

Cue the desire for a refund.


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