Scenery’s the star; ac­tors on ‘Re­treat’ do just that

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Indie Memphis Film Festival - By Roger Moore

Or­lando Sen­tinel

“Cou­ples Re­treat” was made be­cause of its sunny, sandy lo­ca­tion, scenic Bora Bora. Judg­ing from the light, cast mem­bers slept late and took it pretty easy, even in the “We rise at dawn” scenes.

Pals Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau team up again. They co-wrote this and still love work­ing to­gether, even though their ban­ter isn’t what it was in their “Swingers” days.

And they pitch in to help a pal be­hind the cam­era. Di­rec­tor Peter Billingsley, “Ral­phie” in “A Christ­mas Story,” be­friended them when they first got to Hol­ly­wood.

But are those rea­sons for mak­ing the movie, or ex­cuses?

“Cou­ples,” a sput­ter­ing if spo­rad­i­cally amus­ing mis­fire, packed a lot of ac­tors off to a pretty lo­ca­tion and gave them noth­ing funny or deep to do.

Four cou­ples — Vaughn and Malin Akerman, Favreau and Kristin Davis, Ja­son Bate­man and Kris­ten Bell and Faizon Love and Kali Hawk — are lured (they’re friends) to Eden, a re­sort where Power-Point Type A’s (Bate­man and Bell) hope to save their mi­cro-man­aged mar­riage. See­ing as how they’re not be­liev­able or lik­able as a cou­ple, you won­der why.

Joey and Lucy (Favreau and Davis) are hap­pily cheat­ing on one an­other, seen in the TV com­mer­cials for the movie, scenes omit­ted from the fin­ished film. Shane (Love) is newly di­vorced and try­ing to keep up with a 20-year-old girl­friend.

And Dave (Vaughn), their de­pend­able pal, is just there for sup­port. Nat­u­rally he and wife Ron­nie (Akerman) hit a rough patch the mo­ment their mar­riage goes un­der the mi­cro­scope.

With yoga and coun­sel­ing (John Michael Hig­gins and Ken Jeoung earn a grin as ther­a­pists), mas­sages and ses­sions with the ar­ro­gant guru in charge (Jean Reno), th­ese two­somes will re-light the mar­i­tal fires.

None of the cou­ples is in­ter­est­ing enough to carry the movie, and a sauna riff-off is only an echo of vin­tage Vince and Jon. They’re re­duced to kid­die potty jokes and sex gags.

When your big pay-off is a “Gui­tar Hero” play­off, “re­treat” is the word the writ­ers should em­brace. Un­less they have their hearts set on that trip to Bora Bora.

John John­son/Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures

On lovely Bora Bora, Malin Akerman (left) and Vince Vaughn try to re­vive the mar­i­tal flame with help from an ar­ro­gant guru (Jean Reno) in ‘‘Cou­ples Re­treat.’’

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