Exotic setting can't save Couples Retreat

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It’s axiomatic that a beautiful tropical setting will do nothing to save a bad movie. In this offering written by the Swingers team of Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, the best moments come before its four couples arrive at their island paradise. Hyper-organized Jason and Cynthia (Jason Bateman and Kristin Bell), troubled by infertility, persuade their friends, via an amusing Power Point presentation, to join them at Eden West, a partnership-renewal retreat. The other couples — Joey and Lucy (Favreau and Kristin Davis), Dave and Ronnie (Vaughn and Malin Akerman) and divorced Shane (Faizon Love) and 20-year-old girlfriend Trudy (Kali Hawk) — are compelled to participate in therapy and absurd activities like swimming in shark-infested waters and yoga that involves a hunky instructor dry-humping the ladies. What might have been an amusing domestic comedy and satire of marriage-therapy schemes devolves into a scattershot collection of unfunny, unsexy sex jokes and curiously stale references (Fabio, Chewbacca, Mr. Belvedere). Vaughn and Favreau reverse their Swingers roles, with Vaughn playing the nice, devoted husband who, in one of the funny male-banter scenes that are the movie’s saving grace, warns Favreau’s horny Joey that if he keeps chasing tail, he’ll end up eating alone at Applebee’s. **

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