By Sandra Kraisirideja
“Couples Retreat” is not lacking for talent in its cast, but the real star is the island of Bora Bora where the movie takes place.
Filmed at the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, “Couples Retreat” stars Vince Vaughn, Malin Akerman, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Faizon Love and Kali Hawk as four couples who attend a lavish vacation spot geared toward reigniting romance in otherwise stale relationships.
There aren’t many comedies involving married couples that actually promotes marriage. The couples are more down to earth than usual in Hollywood. No one is a lawyer, doctor, magazine editor or high-powered executive. These are middle class couples with kids and everyday problems. Viewers are bound to see a little of their own husbands and wives in the different pairings. “Couples Retreat” is a nice bit of escapist cinema that doesn’t make the audience confront how difficult marriage can be.
Vaughn and Akerman are the fun-loving couple who seem to have it all figured out; Favreau and Davis are the couple who got married right out of high school and want something different; Bateman and Bell are the meticulously organized couple who always play it safe; and Love is the lone divorcee of the group with Hawk portraying his 20-year-old rebound.
Vaughn and Favreau are credited as screenwriters along with Dana Fox. Fox is quickly becoming a new voice in the relationship genre. She previously wrote “What Happens in Vegas” and adapted “The Wedding Date.” The script’s humor leans toward Vaugn’s particular blend of verbal gymnastics.
Director Peter Billingsley, best known as Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” is an old friend of Favreau and Vaughn and frequent collaborator. In “Couples Retreat” Billingsley plays it safe and the movie tends to lose some momentum in the middle.
Vaughn and Favreau first starred together in “Swingers” and it’s interesting to see how the two still love to play against each other. “Couples Retreat” was probably a great excuse for the longtime friends to spend time in Bora Bora.