A toddler pees at the start of the mirthless mess that is Couples Retreat and poops just before the end credits roll. How fitting. You too will want to speedily flush this comic waste matter from your memory. Could Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, swingers forever in my comedy universe, really have written and starred in such crap? And what dirt do they have on newbie director Peter Billingsley (Ralphie from A Christmas Story) that he lets them get away with it? You’d expect the plot — four couples undergoing relationship therapy on a tropical island — to be at least serviceable. Think again.
In a long movie (nearly two hours), Vaughn still has time to play Guitar Hero (plug) while his wife (Malin Akerman) learns why they called this Eden Hump Island. The reliably hilarious Jason Bateman is asked to play one note — anal neurotic — so we know why his wife (Kristen Bell) is at wit’s end. For me, the saddest aspect of the movie is seeing the great French actor Jean Reno (The Professional) forced to make stupid faces as the “couples whisperer.” Stretches of dud dialogue are interspersed with unsightly sight gags. The fat guy (Faizin Love) with the young girlfriend (Kali Hawk) has to get naked in front of everybody for morning exercises. Favreau grabs tissues and hand lotion to jerk off while his wife (Kristen Davis) takes a shower. This is after he pops a boner during massage therapy. You get my drift. The cast got to spend a month shooting on Bora Bora. So that explains why they’re in the movie. Why you’d spend good money for a ticket to watch them have all the fun and not have any fun yourself passes understanding.