Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Retreat From Couples Retreat

Plus, The Damned United, Good Hair, and An Education earn high marks.

by | October 8, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies brings only one wide release: Couples Retreat, starring Vince Vaughn and Kristen Bell in a comedy about a group of friends in marriage counseling in a tropical locale. What do the critics have to say?


Couples Retreat

Couples Retreat contains some of the funniest actors in the business, and is set in a lush island paradise. Sounds like the recipe for a good time, right? Unfortunately, the critics say Couples Retreat is essentially a series of gags sorely in need of some over-arching comic discipline. Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell star as a couple whose relationship is in trouble, so they invite a group of married friends (including Vince Vaughn, Jon Farveau, Kristen Davis, and Malin Ackerman) to a resort for their counseling sessions — and it turns out the whole gang is required to undergo treatment as well. Hilarity ensues. Or, as the pundits say, it doesn’t; the script doesn’t give its talented actors much to do, and so despite the occasionally funny line, the characters are too underdeveloped for much comedic momentum to build. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Vaughn’s best-reviewed films, as well as director Peter Billingsley‘s Five Favorite Films).

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Damned United, starring Michael Sheen as Brian Clough, the legendary manager of the English soccer team Leeds United, is at 91 percent.

  • Good Hair, a documentary in which Chris Rock explores complex relationship between African Americans and their hair, is at 88 percent.

  • An Education, starring Peter Sarsgaard and Carey Mulligan in a Nick Hornby-scripted drama about an ambitious young woman whose life changes when she falls for an older man, is at 83 percent.

  • The Yes Men Fix the World, a gonzo documentary starring the titular political pranksters, is at 81 percent.

  • Araya, a rediscovered 1959 drama about menial laborers in Venezuela, is at 80 percent.

  • Bronson, a dark comedy about the famous jailbird of the same name, is at 74 percent.

  • Peter and Vandy, a dramedy that follows a young couple in various stages of their relationship, is at 64 percent.

  • Adventures of Power, starring Ari Gold and Michael McKean in an indie comedy about a wannabe air-drummer, is at 17 percent.

  • Free Style, starring High School Musical‘s Corbin Bleu as an aspiring motocross racer, is at 11 percent.