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Couples Retreat 

A lame comedy that mostly looks like an excuse for its stars to party at the beach

click to enlarge 41_couple_retreat.jpg

Four couples -- all friends -- endure the comic indignities of beach-resort relationship counseling. Mostly, this lazy, predictable comedy just made me angry, and seemed to last for hours. First, let's stipulate that we're out of fresh jokes about churlish man-boys and the women who put up with them, but this film doesn't even try. It's true that the scenery is lovely -- "like a screen saver," says the most boorish of the men (Jon Favreau) -- but the lovely backdrop of French Polynesia just made me more irate. Watching this crew, which also includes Vince Vaughn, Faizon Love and Jason Bateman, barely try to make a funny, I grew increasingly convinced that the whole film was just a lame excuse to party (and get paid) while soaking up rays in Boro Boro. (What a coincidence: Vaughn, Favreau and director Peter Billingsley are buds from way back.) Toss in a couple of blatant product placements for Budweiser and Guitar Hero, and my disgust was complete. The audience laughed hardest at the jokes about men in tiny bathing suits, so you could probably get the same giggles and save the $10 by hitting a few Web sites.

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