Head over to the IMDb and look up Couples Retreat. With an average score of 5.5 out of ten and plenty of poor reviews to its name, you might think it’s one of the worst films ever. It’s not. Well, it’s probably not in the top ten. Maybe the top 50. However, there are plenty of people (including DoG’s own editor) who’ll try to convince you that there are no jokes in it all.
That’s simply not true. There are four, maybe five. They’re not particularly funny, but they’re definitely there, and two of them weren’t that bad. Unfortunately, one of them isn’t really a joke at all, but just a sequence where Vince Vaughn and Peter Serafinowicz play Guitar Hero, which is only funny because watching anyone play Guitar Hero is funny. As for the other funny bit, well, let’s leave that as a surprise, just in case you decide to watch this movie. But then, considering it’s a comedy with almost no funny bits, why would you?
Well, the cast is pretty impressive, with Vince Vaughn once again teaming up with Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman providing support, and Peter Serafinowicz, Jean Reno and a host of other familiar faces making appearances. Sadly, that just makes an even bigger waste of talent, and no one really shines, although clearly Reno’s eccentric French philosopher/lifestyle guru is supposed to provide some laughs with his ‘wacky’ behaviour. However, like the rest of the film, this falls utterly flat. In fact, that’s pretty much the theme of the movie, with all but Carlos Ponce (yes, that’s his real name), as the overly familiar yoga instructor, putting in tired, sluggish performances.
With so much wrong with Couples Retreat, how can it not be one of the ten worst movies of all time? For a start, the island of Bora Bora, where the film is set, is absolutely beautiful, and director Peter Billingsley certainly portrays that, although perhaps no more so than a tourism promo. Secondly… well, I can’t think of any other plus points, but I’m nevertheless convinced there are plenty of worse films about.
Still, it’s surprising that Vaughn and particularly Favreau could be involved in the writing of such an laugh-free comedy. The setup of the film is fine, and should have been ripe for jokes, but it seems the script is heavily weighed towards all the soppy, romantic, heartwarming shit, and ends up being little more than depressing as a result.
There’s simply no way we can recommend buying this film. At £10.99 for the download, it’s not extortionately priced, but it’s still a waste of money. From 10th March, you can rent it, but, really, you’re better off saving your cash. It’s not a movie that loses anything by watching it on an iPhone or iPod. You’ll be just as bored either way.
Extras consist of an Alternate Ending, Gag reel Extended and deleted scenes and three featurettes, which you can only watch in iTunes. They add little at all to Couples Retreat, except extra footage of nothing funny happening. Even the gag reel, where you normally get to share in the comradery of the cast and crew, feels utterly lifeless, and most of the time they look like they want to go to sleep. That said, there’s plenty of laughter from the cast, but the stuff they’re laughing at isn’t actually funny, but they seem rather pleased with themselves anyway.
Couples Retreat is available from the iTunes store.