Christmases" and now "Couples Retreat", I need to just face the
facts coming into it--Vince Vaughn and romantic comedies are clearly
not a good fit.
This time around, Vaughn plays a happily
married guy living in Chicago with his wife Ronnie (Malin Akerman)
near three other good friends in relationships: there's
anal/analytical Jason (Jason Bateman), who's considering divorce
from his long-time wife Cynthia (Kristen Bell); former jock Joey
(Jon Favreau), who's just waiting for his daughter to go to college
before divorcing his wife Lucy (Kristin Davis); and recent divorcé
Shane (Faizon Love), who's now a few weeks into a fling with a
20-something named Trudy (Kali Hawk). Jason and Cynthia have
come up with an idea to help their ailing marriage, but it requires
four couples--a trip to a beach resort that doubles as a counseling
session. When all four couples make the trip, who will end up
together when the smoke clears?
Who gives a shit?
Wanting a good laugh, I went to see "Couples
Retreat" on a mandate with my friend Ross because we quietly hoped
that maybe, just maybe, Vaughn could give me something funny outside
of the movie's trailer. For the most part, he and his good
friend Favreau could not. I cannot, for the life of me, figure
out why Vaughn's charisma matched with scripted one-liners can't
lift these lifeless romantic projects; in Jennifer Aniston, Reese
Witherspoon and now co-stars like Kristin Davis (all proven comedic
actresses), Vaughn can't really blame the talent surrounding him, so
I just have to believe that in this life, some things aren't meant
Further, as unfunny as Vaughn is in "Couples
Retreat", other normally reliable sources don't deliver; Bateman
wasn't funny in this movie or his last appearance in
Reno, always one of my favorites, doesn't do much good work
here...even bit players like John Michael Higgins (who had the only
laughs in "The Break-Up" and is a regular in Christopher Guest
flicks) and Ken Jeong (the Asian guy showing up in things like
"The Hangover" and
can't make their scenes shine either.
I did chuckle here and there; certainly, the
guy that played the resort's host, Sctanley (Peter Serafinowicz),
got me laughing and Love wasn't bad...but, sadly, there were no
great money shots in "Couples Retreat" and not any real reasons to
invest in watching the film when it begins its regular rotation on
TNT HD. This was better for me to make the firm decision to
never see another Vaughn rom-com...jeez, this was ungood.
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard