Friday, October 9, 2009

Movie Review: Couples Retreat

Let me say up front, what attracted me to this movie in the previews was not the story, but the location. As soon as I saw the images, I knew this was filmed in Bora Bora which is part of Tahiti, French Polynesia. For over a decade I've had fliers from the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort hanging on my wall as a place that I want to go. The bungalows over the ocean with see thru floors and an outdoor lanai that leads down to the's BEAUTIFUL and this coming from a guy who lives in Hawaii! While not the BBLR, it was filmed at the St Regis Bora Bora.

So what's it all about? A group of four couples, three married and one dating go to Eden a luxurious resort in Bora Bora to work on their relationships. Well, actually only one couple, Jason and Cynthia (Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell) wants to work on their relationship, the other three are there because the foursome were going to get an awesome Pelican Package pricing deal and are told they don't have to participate in any skill training aka relationship counseling sessions. While there they can enjoy what the island has to offer in the way that any world class paradise resort can offer.

The four couples fall into the stereotypes for these types of movies: Jason and Cynthia are having problems conceiving and wonder if they should call it quits and get divorced. Dave and Ronnie (Vince Vaughn and Malin Ackerman) have work, house remodeling and two boys to keep them busy in their daily lives. Joey and Lucy (Jon Favreau and Kristen Davis) are the ones who have been together since high school due to a pregnancy and once the daughter is out of the house in a few months plan on getting divorced. Lastly is Shane and Trudy (Faizon Love and Kali Hawk) a divorcee who is having trouble understanding why he's divorced and is now dating a 20 year old to fill the hole in his life.

Once on the island they discover it's an all or nothing deal for all the couples, all participate or all go home. After enjoying a delectable meal they decide that it can't be that bad and are willing to go through the skills training. In steps Jean Reno as Marcel, their training leader and his assistant Briggs played by Temuera Morrison of Star Wars Jango Fett fame. Marcel will help them explore their relationships and what is their animal spirit guide. Huh, what? Every other time we hear about animal spirits it's based on a person, not a couple. Weird mumbo jumbo stuff if you ask me.

The couples go through large and small group sessions and private counseling. We discover their hopes, fears, pains, loves, insecurities, and perceptions play out in the various settings. Several of the funnier moments of the movie are when Salvadore (Carlos Ponce) comes to train them in yoga. His long hair, chiseled body and speedo make the men uneasy and the women weak at their knees. With the beach scenes you do see the guys and they were not in shape...the women on the other hand were in shape for the movie and looked HAWT!

In the end the three married couples figure out their paths and the dating couple come to their resolution with an unexpected twist. The animal spirits are awarded and let the end credits run. Again, what with the animal spirits...did the screen play writers watch too much Brother Bear? Make sure you stay to the very end to get an easter egg.

Was it Was it Both sexes got some eye candy on the screen and the location shots are eye candy by themselves. I wouldn't pay full price, but I would pay a matinee price to go see it. It has a PG-13 rating due to some very awkward sexual scenes that you probably don't want to have to explain to someone who hasn't gone through puberty and runs for 107 minutes.