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Couples Retreat

Not BelievableÖor Funny

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.

Being part of a couple is not always sunshine and roses. In fact, itís work at times. In Couples Retreat, we meet four such couples who are beleaguered by a laundry list of the typical issues pretty much all couples face: stress, doubt, fear, regret, etc. Naturally, the best way to resolve such issues is a simple trip to "Eden", an island getaway on Bora Bora. However, these couples are in for a bit more than just sunning and jet-skiing.

Most of the couples headed off to Eden donít realize that they have in fact signed up for intensive couples therapy that starts as early as 6am every day. Despite their initial reluctance to partake in the mandatory therapy, the beauty of the island acts as a catalyst for the couples to grudgingly participate and, shockingly, they begin to learn more about each other and their needs!

Given the comedic chops of the cast -- Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, and Kristen Davis (among others -- you would expect a veritable laugh fest from start to finish. Unfortunately, it appears the material the cast is working with just isnít terribly meaty (or funny). Jason Batemanís character is a control freak and a bit too rational for his own good which is manifested largely by his penchant for PowerPoint presentations. Itís supposed to be funny, but itís not believableÖor funny.

The inability to suspend disbelief plagues Couples Therapy from start to finish. As an outsider, itís pretty clear that at least 1-2 of these couples have HUGE problems that could NEVER be resolved by going to Bora Bora for a week and having a few couples therapy sessions, but thatís what director Peter Billingsley expects us to believe. Itís insulting to anyone who has ever been in a relationship, really.

Conceived and written by Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn (of Swingers fame), Couples Retreat is a frighteningly contrived and clichťd romantic comedy. While Vaughn and Favreau may be far removed from their "swinger" days and the subject matter of this film is quite different, the authenticity and honesty of Swingers is quite absent in Couples Therapy.

What weíre left with in this film is a few sporadic laughs that appear to be largely improvised banter/repartee by Vaughn and Favreau. Unfortunately, this just isnít enough to carry an entire film. In short, this film simply is not "money".