Movie Review: “Couples Retreat” Offers a Vehicle for Vaughn’s Gentler Side

Have you ever lain in bed at night and wondered what kind of man Vince Vaughn is? Is he the horn-dog, the cynic, the psychopath? When Vaughn sees a child sitting alone in a crowded playground, does he cry a single tear? What is Vaughn’s spirit animal?

Couples Retreat

is a movie about Vaughn and his struggle to live in a world that is not sure if he is still funny. The film centers on the development of Vaughn’s gentler side, marketing him to an audience with values.Vaughn’s character, Dave, is forced into an untenable situation. First, Dave’s neurotic cartoon character of a friend Jason (played by Jason Bateman) reveals that he and his wife Cynthia (played by Kristen Bell) are considering a divorce. As it turns out, so is everyone else. The audience is made party to the fractured love lives of Shane (played by Faizon Love) and Joey (played by Jon Favreau), who are evidently the only other people that Dave hangs out with. These men are trapped in the tried and true Hollywood dilemmas of coping with a younger girlfriend (played by Kali Hawk) and dealing with the girl you accidentally knocked up on prom night (played by Kristin Davis). Since the barely one-dimensional companions to Vaughn’s protagonist are incapable of independent action, he is forced to mobilize the cast toward romantic reconciliation.The solution is that everybody goes to Eden, a Caribbean paradise resort that specializes in couples therapy. Comedic hijinks inevitably ensue, including frustrated masturbation attempts and even a shark attack. However, other than the occasional heartfelt conversation about love and the viability of a sexless marriage, not much happens. The movie resolves with every primary character thoroughly sexed-up and back in a healthy relationship.Do not go to this movie if you are expecting surprises, because there are none.

Couples Retreat

has nothing to offer you but the chance to see some likeable people floating across a screen for one hour and 45 minutes. What you might consider something of a shocker is that I liked this movie anyway. Yes,

Couples Retreat

is garbage, but it is garbage that makes me smile.Despite the gradual decline of Vaughn’s career since

Old School

, I still like the guy. It is true that he plays the same character in this movie that he has in every other movie he has been in for the last 10 years, but he plays that character because it is appealing to a certain demographic, of which I have to sigh and call myself a member.If you are looking for a movie that moves you, that really makes you stop and think, see


. But if you have some time to kill, maybe a certain someone with whom you would like to see a stupid romantic comedy, rated PG-13, this one is fine. It is not great, but it will get the job done. Vaughn managed to pull off the leading comedic role without the support of actually funny material to back him up, which is no mean feat. I do not know for how much longer his star will shine, but he’s already rich.As for Vaughn’s spirit animal, he is an ass.

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