Bruce Bennett Short Bio

Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett has been the primary contributor to Mad About Movies since it began in 2003. He is an award winning film and theater critic who, since 2000, has been writing a weekly column in The Spectrum daily newspaper in southern Utah as well as serving as a contributing editor of “The Independent,” a monthly entertainment magazine. He is also the co-host of “Film Fanatics” a movie review show which earned a Telly in 2009. Bruce is also a featured contributor at: RottenTomatoes.com

His motto: "I see bad movies so you don't have to."

Couples Retreat

Better to retreat from these “Couples”

There are just too many talented actors involved in “Couples Retreat” to not feel dispirited about how the final product ends up. The “screen saver” quality of the locale, (Bora Bora) adds to the disappointment if for no other reason than it’s the best thing about the film.

Instead of being a sharp, witty comedy about married couples experiencing vacation therapy together, “Couples Retreat” is more of a pinheads-in-paradise routine with only a few funny lines.

The funniest bits arrive via two of the film’s stars, Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn who as co- writers gave themselves the best lines while relying on their off-screen friendship to give their scenes an unforced buddy charm.

But it’s likely the pair who debuted in 1996’s classic “Swingers” (Which Favreau wrote) would have loathed the clichés and contrivances of their current collaboration-so what happened to those guys? Have our babies sold out?

“Couples Retreat” follows four interesting couples with believable issues: Vaughn and Malin Ackerman are busy parents with little time for each other. Then there’s Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell an OCD couple who feel distant and convince the others to take the trip. They are joined by Favreau and Kristen Davis, high school sweethearts who’ve fallen out of love and Faizon Love and Kali Hawk as a divorced older guy who brings his 20 year old girlfriend.

The couples are forced to attend therapy sessions which have the potential for some poignantly funny insights but the film spends more time on a butter-faced instructor’s vulgar, inane Yoga positions. Married women may feel particularly insulted because the four wives are all thin, attractive and smart which leads one to wonder what the men are complaining about in the first place.

Did we mention the film’s exotic location was breathtaking?

Favreau and Vaughn should have known better. This film has a good cast of adults, but the script sounds written by relationship-ignorant adolescents. The duo’s fans can fear not. Favreau continues to prove his direction prowess (“Elf,” “Zathura,” and the “Iron Man” films) and Vaughn’s likeable scoundrel persona still has plenty of miles left in it.

Consider “Couples Retreat” an only occasionally funny aberration for all of the talented people involved.

Grade: C
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.

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