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Couples Retreat (2009) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
ImageWill Vince Vaughn films ever cease?  I may be prejudicial, but going into this film I knew how it was going to turn out.  Vaughn is so annoying that is makes every one of the movies that he is in the same.  As evidence of his self absorbed behavior, he is the only one to get his name before the movie title in the opening credits, even with the more talented and popular cast members that are in the film.  One cannot separate Vaughn's demeanor in one film from another.  His acting, if you can call it that is extremely sub par.

The same goes for the rest of the cast of "Couple Retreat."  Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman, et al, deliver underwhelming performances.  We are left watching eight characters on screen that we could care less about and present no defining characteristics.

The writing is just about as poor.  There are a plethora of meaningless conversations.  If anyone cares about the film, it is most likely that they care about the ending.  There is nothing along the journey that is eventful or interesting.  I would say that the film is predictable, but that would imply that there is actually something to predict.  The story does not develop.  It consists of various sequences that one will either laugh at or frown at.  Come the end of the film, the creators wrap it up in a couple minutes.  It is at this point that the writers try to introduce more depth to the story, characters and their resolutions.  That makes the previous 100 minutes meaningless.

A group of four couples take what they think is a vacation to a resort called Eden, likely in the Caribbean.  One couple is uptight and considering a divorce.  They force the other couples to go so they can get a group rate.  While they want to fix their marriage, the other couples want to go to the island to have fun.  Unfortunately, when they get there, the couples are forced by the crazy owner into counseling.  All they want is to have fun.  The fun apparently takes place on the other side of the island, the singles side.

Despite being a poor film, the video transfer is quite pleasant.  The colors are bold and vibrant.  However, sometimes the extreme brightness of the image leads to over saturation in the greens and yellows.  Black levels are always fully resolved.  The nighttime sequences do not fair as well as the day sequences.  In fact, the "lost in the jungle" nighttime sequence is fairly hideous.  Details and textures are swallowed up by murky shadows.  Aside from that instance, the details and textures are nicely developed.  Film grain is never an issue.  Edges suffer from a little bit of ringing, which may distract some viewers.  The rest of the source print is free from artifacts.  This transfer will please most viewers.
The audio is presented as a standard DTS-HD lossless track.  There is nothing to remember about this track.  It is perfectly fine for average version, but sound designers missed a lot of opportunities so the transfer doesn't have much to recreate.  Ambience of the ocean and breeze is lightly present in the surround channels.  The only other surround presence occurs during the party sequence.  Placement in the surrounds is iffy.  Panning is not as spot on as it could have been.  The LFE channel is absent for nearly the entirety of the film.  However, the most important aspect of the track is the dialogue, which never falters.  The dialogue is weighty and still intelligible.  No lines are lost.  Dynamics and frequency response are decent for the genre.  Overall, this is a good transfer for a limited audio track.

The special features are about as bland as the film.  Under the U-Control section there is a picture-in-picture commentary.  This is an unfunny commentary that only has Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsley staring off into space and chatting.  There is an alternate ending is actually better than the theatrical ending.  This was a pleasant surprise.  However, the deleted and extended scenes are bland and should be skipped.  There is an unfunny gag reel.  "Therapy's Greatest Hits" is probably the funniest thing on the entire disc.  "Paradise Found: Filming in Bora Bora" is a promo piece.  "Behind the Yoga" takes a look at the yoga instructor.  The package also comes with a Digital Copy and pocketBLU functionality.

"Couples Retreat" is a skip.  Except for the luscious colors, this release doesn't have much to offer.  Give it a rent if you are fond of the genre, but otherwise move onto the next title on your list.

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