Couples Retreat

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell. Comedy. Written by Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Dana Fox. Directed by Peter Billingsley.

FILM SYNOPSIS: While their friends seek aid for a troubled marriage, two other couples tag along for what they think will be a relaxing week at a fancy spa. They soon discover that participation in the resort's couples therapy is not optional. Nor is it much fun.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Though much of the humor relies on smarmy sexual references and crude visual gags, the production has an overall sweet nature. While never preachy, the sanctity of marriage is treated with respect by Vaughn and Favreau, who wrote and produced, as well as took the juiciest parts. The location is beautiful, as are the female stars, who appear to have spent a great deal of time at the gym. By the look of their flat tummies, it must be surmised that Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman and Kristen Bell have never eaten candy or carbs. So much the better for appreciators of the female form as God and Hugh Hefner intended.

I hope that last line didnít offend anyone. Iím a writer, I thought it was humorous, but I meant no disrespect for God. Which, by the way, neither does the film. I caught no misuse of Godís name or His Sonís. The s-word, now the new darn-it, is uttered frequently, but otherwise the screenplay avoids much obscenity. I wish I could say it also avoided crude sexual references. For a film that is basically stating itís time to grow up and face responsibility, this group acts like college freshmen cut lose during Spring Break. Please read the content before deciding if itís appropriate for your familyís viewing.

DVD Alternatives: Fireproof. Kirk Cameron plays a fireman on the brink of divorce. Taking a 40-day experiment called ďThe Love DareĒ before the final papers are signed, he struggles to save his marriage. There are the usual filmmatic shortcomings associated with well-meaning religious storytelling, but within minutes, something special happens Ė we begin to get caught up in the narrative. Itís nice to again see an involving tale, one where you grow to care about the lead characters and their fates. At the same time, the film extols biblical principles and addresses nagging spiritual questions. Mr. Cameron gives the most mature, complex performance of his career. Like Jimmy Stewartís George Bailey, Cameronís Caleb Holt is a good man, but a real one, one with flaws and foibles. Cameron is willing to display negative traits that seldom take focus in movie protagonists. Supported by Erin Betheaís three-dimensional portrait as the firefighterís wife, Kirk and company approach an important issue: the sanctity of marriage. PG.

Marley & Me. This romantic comedy/drama, based on the true-life adventures of columnist John Grogan, centers around an unruly yellow Labrador who manages to dominate a newlywed coupleís lifestyle.† Itís a smart movie about people finding their way.† Fast paced, with mostly gentle humor, the film celebrates the preciousness of life, while giving a realistic view of a modern marriage.† Itís a film about love, responsibility, a pro-marriage, pro-life film that moves from comedy to drama with the ease of giving Lassie a command.† PG

The Awful Truth. This classic screwball comedy has Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as a divorced couple sabotaging each otherís new relationships. Grant reveals his expert touch with physical and verbal comic timing. Forget its age, itís a perfect comedy.

Enchanted April. A delightful fable about four women in 1920s London escaping inattentive husbands and repressed lifestyles by renting a castle in Portofino. They soon discover the estate has a magical effect on all those who stay there. Witty dialogue, dreamy cinematography, and savory performances from Joan Plowright, Polly Walker and the rest of the cast.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Thereís a great deal of sexually laced dialogue.

Obscene Language: Nine or so uses of the s-word and several minor expletives throughout.

Profanity: Other than the expression, ďOh my God,Ē which is heard a few times, I caught no misuse of Godís name or Christís.

Violence: A man gets punched for making a pass at one of the ladies; small sharks circle the couples as they are snorkeling Ė this is played for laughs. Blood: Some blood is seen from bait being fed to fish.

Sex: There are many crude comic sexual situations and references; we see a man about to masturbate, before he is interrupted and embarrassed; a very crude situation occurs when an overzealous Fabio-type yoga instructor places his patients in inappropriate sexual stances; that scene is lengthy.

Nudity: Lots and lots of people wearing little in a Eden-like resort.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some drinking; during one scene, the ladies get drunk while enjoying the attentions of a lothario.

Other: Though the film is saying that marriage is good and needs nurturing, it also spends a great deal of time wallowing in crude sexual dialogue and behavior.

Running Time: 117 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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