Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 5, 2010

Paradise lost

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 11:13 pm

February 05, 2010

Cast: Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Kristin Davis

Director: Peter Billingsley

There’s an old joke in Hollywood that no script written at a Starbucks has ever gotten made into a film. It refers to the fact that just about everyone in Los Angeles is trying to write a movie; everyone with a laptop in a coffee-shop is more than likely hammering out a script.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say Couples Retreat is the kind of film that was probably written at a Starbucks. But I know that’s not true; it’s been written by two of the film’s stars Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, who probably knocked it out in their plush condos in the Hollywood Hills.

Fourteen years ago, the two guys starred in the far superior Swingers (which Favreau wrote incidentally), a comedy about twenty-something guys figuring out life and women as they traversed through the LA social scene. Coming from the same team, Couples Retreat is an utterly unimaginative letdown.

This film follows four couples as they visit a luxurious tropical island resort for sun, sea, spas and sex, but end up having to do lots of therapy and soul-searching instead.

Laughs must be drawn from such clichéd gags as untimely erections and suggestive yoga poses, and if that doesn’t work for you, surely you can’t resist the sight of a kid peeing into a model toilet in a furnishings store!

Fine actors like Jason Bateman, Kristen Davis, Jean Reno and Vaughn and Favreau themselves are wasted in this un-funny comedy about marriage mash-ups, which expectedly ends in a syrupy-sweet climax.

The actors spent a month shooting this film in gorgeous Bora Bora so it’s not like they went home empty handed from this experience. But I can’t think of one reason I’d recommend you watch this film. Not even for AR Rahman’s score, which is just as uninspired as the film.

One out of five and a thumbs-down for Couples Retreat; it’s so formulaic and fake you really couldn’t care less if these couples stay together, get divorced or are eaten up by sharks!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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