Couples Retreat - 20th December 2010

This is the first of two films I watched while kicking about the house sick in the week running up to Christmas. For reasons known only to my cable box there was nothing particularly festive on at the times I plonked my silly, weak and feeble, flu-ridden body down onto the sofa to watch some tube.
I could've done with a Muppets Christmas Carol or a Scrooged but sadly no, I was stuck with this.
Now I have prefaced this review with the fact that I was sick, let me also preface it with the fact it is the second time I have sat through this film and so this is my sicky, second time viewing experience based opinion, ok? good.
I am going to be a little kinder on this film than I might have been if it was my first viewing, I remember leaving that first experience pretty disgusted with all involved because it is true to say that this film is almost entirely devoid of laughs.
The thought that I had this time was, actually, looking at it again, it is a companion piece to The Break Up in many ways. That was a film that was also billed as an hilarious relationship comedy when really, despite some of its more ridiculous and outlandish scenes, it was actually a fairly successful attempt to look at what couples actually go through in a more serious and inwardly comic way than a laugh out loud comedy riot.
Now what you get with Couples Retreat is in no way as well scripted, well thought out, well directed or as well acted as The Break Up and it's a sad fact that its unfunny, outlandish, cliche'd and often vulgar scenes far out weigh any actual drama or comic comment on relationships but those knowing observations are in there if you want to look out for them. It's also a film that if you have absolutely nothing else to watch and you want to kill a couple of hours watching some comedic actors you maybe once liked take a holiday together then put this on, if you want to watch a film in which some comedic actors you may still like take a holiday and discuss relationships then watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Which brings us to the cast, a crazy ensemble of actors who have all appeared in some of the funniest films and some of the best TV shows of the 21st century, people you may have laughed at, liked and even admired at one time all show up to prove time and time again that comedy doesn't work when you throw money at it, oh and speedos, not really funny either, just old, embarrassing and desperate. Also, if you want me to care if these people get back together or not, make them either funny enough to forgive their hideous antics or likable enough that you don't want to punch them in their soft-cotton pajama wearing, swanning about on a tropical paradise getting a tan type, podgy and miserable looking faces.

It's actually a little unforgivable that all these people could be so bad. Vince Vaughn has been on a downward slope for sometime and is pretty awful as the lead in most of his movies, he is usually better as part of an ensemble, as a second tier character or as a cameo (see Swingers, Anchorman, Old School etc.) and make no mistake, there's a reason he's front and center on the poster, this movie is all about him. Sure the plot is predicated on the idea that Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell's marriage is having problems and yes usual Vaughn cronies, John Favreau and the others get their 5 minutes in the spotlight but most of the film is Vaughn talking, talking and talking. Well, actually, it's more like him whinging, whinging and whinging and it's repetitive, in a monotone, thoroughly unlikeable and surprisingly unfunny.

I said I was going to be kinder on this movie than I would've been the first time I saw it and this is me being kind, so you can only imagine just how rotten I thought it was originally but it's true to say that I did enjoy it a little more the second time, meaning that, in my ill stupor, I didn't find it quite so wretched but really absolutely everyone involved in this knows better and could do better.
3 out of 10 pineapples with a straw in.
Points from the wife 2 out of 10

Starsky & Hutch - 21st December 2010

The Shining - 18th December 2010