Couples Retreat (2009)

You Definitely Don’t Pull a Hypothetical Gun on Your Therapist

I’ve had today’s movie sitting on my desk for a little while now, ever since it arrived from Netflix.  When it came out in theaters, I knew that I liked all the people that were in the movie, but found that I never had any interest in watching it.  The thing that probably drew me in finally was the fact that there were a lot of really good looking women in bikinis throughout this movie, and also a pretty solid potential for comedy.  This movie is Couples Retreat, written by Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, and Dana Fox, directed by Peter Billingsley, and starring Vince Vaughn, Malin Akerman, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis, Faizon Love, Kali Hawk, Tasha Smith, Jean Reno, Peter Serafinowicz, Carlos Ponce, Temuera Morrison, John Michael Higgins, Ken Jeong, Amy Hill, and Karen Shenaz David.  I had no idea that a person from both Scorpion King 2 and Scorpion King 3 were in this movie when I started watching it.  That’s just happy coincidence.

Jason (Jason Bateman) and his wife Cynthia (Kristen Bell) are having marriage troubles, so they decide that they should go to a resort to work on them.  But they’re also having financial troubles, so they need their friends to go with them in order to get a package discount.  Dave (Vince Vaughn) and Ronnie (Malin Akerman), Joey (Jon Favreau) and Lucy (Kristin Davis), and Shane (Faizon Love) and Trudy (Kali Hawk) all begrudgingly agree to accompany them.  Dave and Ronnie have a stable marriage with kids, so they don’t believe they need a couples retreat.  Joey and Lucy’s relationship is on the rocks, but they prefer to just cheat on each other a lot instead of working it out.  Shane and Trudy have only just started dating.  But they all go anyways, thinking that Jason and Cynthia will go through the counseling while they can just enjoy their vacation.  When they arrive at Eden, the resort host Sctanley (Peter Serafinowicz) informs them that they must all go through the counseling or they must all leave the resort.  The group must now endure the resort owner, Marcel (Jean Reno), and his unorthodox methods, the amorous Yoga instructor Salvador (Carlos Ponce), and the temptations of the sister island, Eden East, and their wild singles parties.  But they’ll probably all end up better in the end.

Some of the expectations that I had going into this movie were let down.  I knew there would be good looking ladies in bikinis, and the movie delivers on that exquisitely.  There is scarcely a woman in this movie that is not ridiculously good looking and usually wearing a bikini.  The other expectation I had of the movie (given the cast) was that it would be really funny.  It wasn’t.  It had it’s moments, to be sure, but I wanted a lot more laughter than I got.  The introduction to Salvador is a super awkward and sometimes funny scene, as almost every Yoga pose he teaches involves laying on a member of the cast in a sexual manner, whether it’s the girls or the boys.  But there were a couple of funny moments.  The rest of the time it was roughly what you come to expect of a Vince Vaughn movie.  It just seems like the writers just put down a rough outline of what was going to happen and just went to those locations and talked nonstop until they felt they had enough comedy to fill a movie.  A lot of the cast inspires confidence that this will be a good philosophy, but the random things they were saying only got smirks out of me, with the occasional funny one.  This movie also does something that too many comedies feel like they have to do: try to have a meaning.  Obviously it’s all about couples retreats and stuff like that, but don’t lay this message on us about marriage.  It gets a little too heavy handed and sappy for my taste.  This movie had potential to be a good, ridiculous comedy.  I understand that the status quo is to have a little bit of a message behind the movie, but if you lay it on too thick it just bogs down the funniness.  They also seem to have reached a point at the end of the movie where they furiously try to tie up all the loose ends of the movie about 5 minutes before it ends, all within a 10 minute span.  The relationship problems were mostly just hinted at up until that point, then they all instantly reach a boiling point, but then fix it almost immediately.  Another sign that the story of the movie was only vaguely touched upon.  And what was with all the Guitar Hero talk in this movie?  I like Guitar Hero just fine, and I also understand the purpose of SOME product placement in a movie, but they talk about this thing all the time.  Vaughn’s job is to sell the game and, coincidentally, it becomes a strange and unnecessary plot point near the end of the movie.  The thing that the movie does fantastically is the look.  And not just the smoking hot women in bikinis … and I’m sure there are men that ladies would like to look at.  I mean the settings.  It’s probably pretty easy to make a beautiful looking movie in a tropical island setting, but every bit of this movie is colorful and vibrant once they reach the island.  So, if nothing else, you’ll enjoy looking at it.  A great movie on mute, perhaps.

I perhaps went into this movie expecting too much, but it was mainly based on the cast.  I like Vince Vaughn in a lot of his movies, but he does tend to play the same exact character in almost all of them.  Sometimes they work, and sometimes they’re just annoying.  In this movie, I had no problems with him, but he never really did anything funny either.  Just a couple of sparse moments.  The same thing could be said for Jason Bateman too.  He usually plays a completely different kind of character from Vaughn, but it’s usually a pretty neurotic guy.  He’s that here too.  And also has a few moments that were funny.  The biggest problem I had with these couples was with Jon Favreau and Kristin Davis.  I don’t know if I missed some explanation in the beginning of this movie, but I never had any idea how these two were still a couple.  They seemed to mainly just resent and avoid each other, and both of them just kept trying to fuck anybody but their spouse.  Then, at the very end of the movie, they fall in love with each other again because he invites her to Applebees.  …Alright.  I guess that’s a thing.  The only thing I can really say about Kristen Bell, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, and Kali Hawk was that they are gorgeous.  Kristen Bell has a decent bit of acting around the end of the movie.  It took me a little bit to figure out where I knew Peter Serafinowicz from, but when I realized he was in Shaun of the Dead, I got really excited.  His character, Sctanley, probably had the largest amount of funny moments, but he wasn’t around enough to fix the movie.  I also felt like John Michael Higgins and Ken Jeong – two more people I generally expect a great deal of funny from – were greatly underused.  And remember when I reviewed all the Scorpion King movies?  Karen Shenaz David (from Scorpion King 2) and Temuera Morrison (from Scorpion King 3) were in this one too.  What a strange coincidence.  But they also had very minor parts here, so there’s nothing more to say.

I think it is probably a dangerous thing to throw a large amount of big names into a mediocre comedy.  We’ll just go in expecting too much.  This movie has it’s charms, but it should have been much funnier with the cast that it includes.  I wouldn’t think anyone would actually hate this movie, though.  The movie is a gorgeous thing to behold because of it’s tropical setting, vibrant colors, and – last but not least – gorgeous ladies in bikinis.  You just won’t laugh that much.  Couples Retreat gets “You got a pose called Yoga guy gets his ass kicked?” out of “Holy shit!  It’s like a screensaver!”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Sex and the City (2008)

There are few movies that I would not watch of my own accord and now, at the request of my sister, I have finally watched one of them.  And thank goodness I did, else I would not have seen Sex and the City, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, and Mario Cantone.

Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) decides to buy a sweet penthouse apartment with her boyfriend Big (Chris Noth).  Soon after, to soothe her doubts about living in an apartment he purchased, he proposes marriage with her.  Meanwhile, Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is living in LA with her actor boyfriend and often leaves to go back to New York to be with the other girls because her relationship is becoming stagnant and she’s more used to throwing her vagina around.  Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) finds out her husband has cheated on her and separates from him.  Charlotte (Kristin Davis) seemingly is without incident.  Carrie starts preparing for her wedding and, on the day before the wedding and after an argument with her husband, Miranda tells Big that he and Carrie are fools for getting married.  This puts doubt in Big’s mind.  On the day of the wedding, Big has not shown up.  She calls him and he tells her he can’t go through with it.  He quickly regrets his decision and rushes back to her, but she rejects him, feeling humiliated by him not showing up.  The 4 girls go on Carrie’s honeymoon with her to try to cheer her up, and the rest of the movie shows us if these situations can be resolved in 2 hours.

I feel odd even saying the words but this was a really good movie.  It was equal parts funny and touching as we watch 4 close friends dealing with their lives which are both extravagant and relatable.  The movie takes various methods to keep you enthralled such as the story, the visuals, the humor, and the performances.

That being said, it was complete horseshit.  This movie sucked out loud.  How could women possibly not only watch this tripe, but call it awesome?  Seriously, it was all I could muster to produce 3 lines of mockingly complimentary comments.

So this story is actually about a collection of 4 overdramatic, superficial bitches making their situations worse but blaming it on those evil men.  When Carrie gets engaged she starts making a huge deal out of it and that starts to give Big the jitters.  She tells her friends that she wants them to be jealous of her.  If you wanted them to be jealous, you should get a nose job.  Then when his jitters lead to him getting too nervous to show up for a second, they flip out.  When he returns, Charlotte yells at him as if they just walked into a room and found him eating that annoying little Asian kid alive.  And then when Miranda tells Charlotte that she was pretty much the cause of it, she tells her it wasn’t her fault.  “Don’t worry, Miranda, it can’t be your fault.  You’re a woman.”  Even Carrie forgives Miranda for causing it almost instantly, instead getting mad about the fact that she kept it secret.  It may perhaps sound misogynistic and I am not one to condone cheating, but when Miranda’s husband cheats because she’s not had sex with him for 6 months and when they finally did, she told him they should just get it over with.  And yet, somehow, she was shocked when it happened.  Of course he cheated on you, bitch.  He was driven out of his mind with overflowing semen and having been emasculated and you expect him to be loyal to the ugliest of the 4 girls from Sex and the City?  You should be praising the Lord that it only happened once.

What passes as comedy in this movie is the only thing laughable about it.  Kim Cattrall’s man gives her a gift stuffed in his underpants and I assumed that was meant to be either romantic or humorous.  At one point Cattrall actually calls someone “dickwad” and people applaud instead of sighing heavily as I did.  Later they joke about how unkempt Miranda is because she’s not waxed in a while and they actually forced me to see the pubes sticking out from under her bikini.  Shortly after, Charlotte craps herself after getting some Mexican water in her mouth.  So they take the only one of the girls that’s attractive and ruins her by making herself shit her pants.

These bitches were so annoying on top of everything else with the movie.  Their concerns are more about shoes than their relationships.  At one point it seems as if the biggest thing on Carrie’s plate is the fact that her area code has changed.

The acting was not that bad, though I imagine the women themselves are not far removed from their characters.  The problems with this movie is everything around them.  All the montages of them picking out dresses caused me a great deal of pain.  Especially since the dress Carrie finally decided on involved a blue bird stuck to the side of her head.  Only one of these 4 girls is attractive (though 1 of them was about 20 years ago) yet for some reason she’s the one with the ugliest guy.  Perhaps I’d know how she landed such a man if I had watched the TV show, but I simply can’t muster that.

Needless to say, I did not like this movie.  It attempts humor and fails, and attempts drama but ruins it with the story.  If you’re a woman, you might like this movie, but I don’t know why.  You women should hold yourselves to a higher standard than this movie delivers.  I give this movie “Awful” out of 964.