Throw together several comedic talents (one of which is Vince Vaughn) and place them on a beautiful, tropical island. That is the relatively simple context behind Couples Retreat, written by the creators of Las Vegas based comedy Swingers. As the title to this latest suggests, the story focuses around four couples who are convinced into going to a remote island where they attempt to mend their apparently stale relationships. The interaction between each lead appears natural and it is clear that these are people well used to each others company. This is the films key asset. Many of the jokes however rely on crude, simplistic humour and, as this is a comedy about relationships, you will not win any prizes for guessing that the humour is often sex-based. One particularly cringe worthy set piece involves a toned French hunk making sexual thrusts towards the wives as part of ‘therapy’. Despite the clear lack of any subtlety there are still some laughs to be raised, many of them as the characters lust after members of the opposite sex.
It is quite hard to shake the feeling however that this is a formula we have seen all too often before, particularly with the seemingly endless number of recent films involving a certain Judd Apatow
The negativity this has received from critics certainly has not stopped the public from enjoying it. Indeed the laughs were regular at the screening I attended.
Just don’t expect it to be anything particularly special. Whilst it certainly serves as an amusing couple of hours to unwind it does not go beyond that.