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Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009 10:58 pm

Retreating from Couples your best bet


I always hate when comedians go soft but it seems to be the nature of the beast. Richard Pryor made Superman III, Eddie Murphy became Dr. Dolittle, and Steve Martin found himself as Father of the Bride. Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau continue to go to comedic seed as well in Couples Retreat, a milquetoast comedy about four couples who take off to an island resort to come to terms with their relationships.

While the premise is simple (couples face their problems, couples threaten to break up, couples unite…) in the right hands it could be turned into a sharp-edged commentary on modern married life. Fifteen years ago, Favreau would have been just the man for the job. Coming off his indie hit Swingers, his razor-sharp wit and eye for observational comedy helped make that film a touchstone for the mid-90s, regarding young relationships. It was so “money.”

But alas, the edge has been dulled by success and here Favreau offers up a formulaic script containing no surprises and few laughs. While Vaughn and Jason Bateman as his detail-oriented buddy who hatches the plan to get away have a few good moments, you can tell everyone’s on autopilot here. The only thing “money” here is the large paycheck all involved got for sleepwalking through this routine exercise.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.
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