Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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It may be paradise but it's no vacation. Therapy is not an option; it's mandatory in the new comedy, "Couples Retreat."
Peter Billingsley-- yes, little Ralphy from "A Christmas Story"-- directs the new, star-laden movie opening this weekend. Four couples, all dealing with challenges of modern life, end up at a tropical island resort designed to nurture feelings and save relationships.
It all starts when Jason and Cynthia -- played by Jason Bateman and Kristin Bell -- tell their friends, through a power point presentation, that they are on the verge of divorce. It seems they expect the other three couples to hop on board so they can get the group discount for the island therapy.
One by one they all agree, including Dave and Ronnie, the most "normal" couple, played by Vince Vaughn and Malin Ackerman.
Well, the island is beautiful but there is a bigger commitment to the therapy and feelings side of the experience than the fun and adventure touted by Jason and Cynthia.
Enter Jean Reno, the guru of the island whose unorthodox techniques send our couples into unfamiliar and even uncomfortable territory. Ah, but will it all work out? That's one of the biggest problems; everything gets too neatly tied up.
After the really serious issues some of these folks are facing, well, I know this is supposed to be a comedy but a little reality wouldn't hurt either. Believe it or not the most endearing characters are delivered by Vince Vaughn and Malin Ackerman who provide an anchor of refreshing normalcy.
By the way, while originally rated R, it was trimmed back to a PG-13 rating but still really pushes the line, especially on sexuality. The film has its moments, but it rapidly adds up to tedium.
Just 2 stars for "Couples Retreat," and as I mentioned, it is rated PG-13.