© Universal Pictures International Germany GmbH

Couples Retreat (All Inclusive)
U.S.A. 2009

Opening 5 Nov 2009

Directed by: Peter Billingsley
Writing credits: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Dana Fox
Principal actors: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman

Four couples, all friends, leave the kids with the grandparents to take advantage of a week-long, group-discount vacation. They arrive at the Eden Island Resort West where, unexpectedly, it’s a “palace of solitude” where everyone is up at dawn and television is banned. Monsieur Marcel, the Couples’ Whisperer (Jean Reno), guides them through a strict regime of therapy where they discuss their separation, pending divorce, childlessness, and other problems of which even they were unaware. They consider the plausibility of escaping across the bay to Eden East, the “Disneyland for adults” where singles party all night in their efforts to find a partner. In the end all the problems are joyfully solved and even the clichés (British nerd waiter, sexy masseur, overweight black man) add to the fun.

I would watch it all again, just to see Puerto Rican Carlos Ponce rise from the sea in all his splendour as yoga instructor Salvadore. This comedy was filmed on the island of Bora Bora in the exclusive St. Regis Resort. Although already a successful producer (e.g., Iron Man), this was Peter Billingsley’s first feature film as director. It stars Vince Vaughn (who initiated the film in the first place and came to Hamburg’s Streit’s Cinema for the premiere), Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau (who also wrote the script), Kristin Davis, and Kristen Bell. (Becky Tan)

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