COUPLES RETREAT (15, 113 mins) 5/10
LOVE is a battlefield – and in Peter Billingsley’s vapid comedy, penned by Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau and Dana Fox, enemy lines are drawn on one of the most beautiful locations on the planet.
Filmed on the remote Pacific Ocean island of Bora Bora, part of French Polynesia, Couples Retreat is a flimsy excuse for best buddies Vaughn and Favreau to enjoy a free holiday with some of their acting mates.
Our entertainment is a secondary concern.
Their script is so malnourished of chuckles, let alone belly-laughs, that you could fairly categorise Billingsley’s film as a drama, especially with all of the therapy sessions in which the titular couples work through the kinks in their relationships. Counselling is no sniggering matter, certainly not here, and to rub salt into our wounds, the screenwriters have the gall to resolve all of the underlying tensions, hurt and resentment for a ’happy ever after’ finale.
A protracted sequence involving a skimpily-dressed yoga instructor (Carlos Ponce) thrusting inappropriately against married clients drags on far too long.
So too does the most shameless piece of product placement in recent memory, contriving a centrepiece around a music-themed video game.
Jason (Jason Bateman) and his wife Cynthia (Kristen Bell) are contemplating divorce and they decide to give the relationship one last shot by attending the tropical resort of Eden, which offers seminars for married couples to rebuild love and trust.
Couples Retreat is lots of filthy-minded pillow talk and the occasional heartfelt exchange between eight characters, who fail to communicate with us and with each other.