Couples Retreat

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Posted October 8, 2009 in Film

Peter Billingsley and Vince Vaughn have been friends ever since they were teenagers in an anti-steroid afterschool special. (The boy who cried for BB guns played the ’roid rager.) That’s no excuse for either of them to inflict this corny, crass disaster on the moviegoing public. Vaughn plays a loving, but distracted dad married to Malin Akerman. Their best friends are couples Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell (the uptight ones), Jon Favreau and Kristen Davis (the hateful skanks) and newly divorced Faizon Love, who’s exhausted from trying to keep up with his rebound, 20-year-old Kali Hawk (hilarious and underused). Guilt-tripped into an island vacation with mandatory sessions with French therapist Jean Reno, the eight-some spends more energy attacking each other than relaxing by the pool—this is Spite Island. Billingsley’s direction makes everything and everyone a thudding drag. Almost as bad is the film’s subtle sexism that thinks that by making the husbands the screw-ups, it’s paying femalekind a compliment. Actually, it’s just making the ladies passive drones who look good in bikinis—the actresses are so wasted, they’re even demoted to fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth billing under every one of the dudes. At least the guys aren’t having fun either.

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