I recently watched a rerun on an old Friends episode from the early 90’s. Looking back at it, it felt soul-less, dated, formulaic and without character. I got the same feeling watching Couples Retreat.
In Couples Retreat, four couples opt to travel to a tropical island resort supporting one of the couples attempt to save their marriage. Thinking they are there for fun and adventure, the other three couples quickly find out they have to participate in couples therapy sessions in order to stay.
I was swept up in the romantic idea, caught by the beautiful tropical backdrop and hooked by the promise of Vince Vaughn saying something funny. Unfortunately, my hopes were soon crushed when they played out one formula sitcom setup and punchline after another.
The characters seemingly cared for each other, but it was only on a superficial level. They talked about how they were concerned, but they didn’t sell it. It ruined the impact of the romantic comedy. They didn’t really care about each other, so why should I care for them?
Couples Retreat relies heavily on the quick-witted dialogue that Vaughn is so well known for, but in this context, I found it mostly annoying and trite. After this, I’m not sure I want to watch another movie with Vaughn in it.
Another sure sign of trouble, the audience in my theater laughed sporadically and only at the segments that were given away in the film’s trailer. Boo.