Relationship in trouble? Try Shark Therapy! Vince Vaughn’s movie, Couples Retreat, may give you some ideas. A decidedly different take on romance with some laughs thrown in for flavor. Couples Retreat was written by Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau and is billed as comedy. It really is more of a romance movie sprinkled with a few laughs. Peter Billingsley was the Director of this uneven film. Peter’s earlier efforts were The Breakup and Elf, so you see the direction this movie will take.
The story line revolves around four couples tied together by friendship of their husbands. Jason, played by Jason Bateman, and his wife Cynthia, played by Kristen Bell, are a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. This couples angst is trying to conceive with no results. It doesn’t help that they are control freaks and anal retentive about everything. In an effort to save their marriage, they find “Eden”, the ultimate South Sea resort famous for couples therapy. One problem, it is quite pricey, so they go on a campaign to get the other three couples involved to cut the cost.
Dave, played by Vince Vaughn, and Ronnie, played by Malin Akerman, are a seemingly happy couple with two children. Joey, played by Jon Favreau, and his wife Lucy, played by Kristen Davis, are a long married couple whose life has settled into routine. Shane, played by Faizone Love, who is recently divorced and has a young girlfriend Trudy, played by Kali Hawk, is drawn into the vacation.
After some heavy duty arm twisting by Jason and Cynthia, the three couples relent. They arrive at Eden and are blown away by this paradise. Joey finds out there is a Singles Eden on the other side of the island and is eager to visit. What a dog. After the first day, much to the chagrin of the two “happily married” couples and Shane, they must attend couples therapy in order to stay at Eden. Reluctantly, they decide to attend in order to stay in paradise.
The most unique character is Marcel, played by tough guy Jean Reno, who is the owner of Eden. Jean’s swami like ethereal character really defines Eden. He plays the character with so much surreal charm that he is a pleasure to watch. As you have already have guessed, all the couples discover they have some serious problems.
Their couples therapy combines massages and jet skiing with shark therapy. Shark therapy has the men and women swimming with the sharks in an odd trust building exercise, and yoga sessions with scantily clad instructors. The couples counseling sessions as can surmise, sets off some interesting confrontations. Shane and Trudy have a blowup and Trudy sets off for Eden East, the singles resort. The other members of the group then decide to go and find her, egged on by Joey. The overseas trip is arduous and another argument ensues and Cynthia takes off her own to Eden East. The rest of the story is interesting but predictable. The couples later reunite and find passion and romance renewed. Shane finds his own separate peace.
Couples Retreat does have it’s funny moments, but no real laughs. It does have its shocking moments with Shane’s commando exposure in one off the groups sessions. It does however show that marriages and relationships take continual work. Complacency does cause you to take each other for granted. Couples Retreat exposes these elements and does inspire you to think. Couples therapy may not be such a bad idea, especially if your relationship’s flame has been extinguished and you are settled into a mundane routine.