Wednesday, October 28, 2009

AB Goes To The Movies - Couples Retreat.

For reasons unknown, Vince Vaughn has recently surpassed Will Ferrell as my obligatory "Funny White Dude". Maybe it's cause Ferrell keeps making bricks like Ricky Bobby and Bewitched. Maybe it's cause Vaughn's gone as crazy with The Breakup and The Wedding Crashers. Whatever the case, I usually find a way to catch his flicks, whether in the theaters, or by, shall we say, more creative measures.

If you've been watching TV, and thus, commercials, for the past month, you prolly already know the premise of Couples Retreat. Four couples of longtime friends with varying degrees of marital bliss decide to go on a relationship-building getaway to an island in paradise. Seaside hijinx, gay jokes, and general hilarity ensue.

One couple (Vaughn and his wife, sorry, I don't know any of these women's names) has a relatively good marriage but is too stressed with the daily grind of kids and work. Another (Jon Favreau and the prudish brunette from SATC) is completely on the rocks and has spent years living separate lives with separate partners. The third couple (Jason Bateman) is having trouble conceiving children, and methodically deciding whether or not to call it quits.

And then, there's the black folks.

Look, I'm all about "inclusion", but the way they worked in Faison Love and his 20-year old girlfriend was just downright ridiculous. The only non-married couple on the trip, the young girlfriend (thankfully named Trudy, and not something stereotypically ghetto) is an amalgam of every hoodrat staple ever projected on black women on film. She pops gum, has no table manners, behaves like a 5 year old who's never seen sh*t, and is oversexed. While there's a somewhat predictable plot machination involving the lovely Tasha Smith (Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?), reality is, the whole thing seems forced in an unfortunate "we gotta cast some black folks in this movie, we voted for Obama for crissakes" fashion. Personally, I'd rather they not included any black people at all. I'd rather just be ignored than patronized.

In a strange way, this movie is a lot less fun than I expected. Sure, there's the usual sophomoric grown man humor, and lots of crass sight gags, but there's also the very morbid undertone of spectacularly failed marriages. This being Hollywood and all, of course the whole thing is wrapped up in a happy bow (with one very notable exception) by the end of the flick, but still, the level of dysfunction of some of the couples isn't really all that funny. It's sort of a killjoy to be honest. Maybe they kept it a little too real, because I thought slapstick comedies were posed' to be a fun distraction from real life. This movie was a real downer.

Final Verdict: You'll get a few laughs, but not as many as you were expecting. Wait for RedBox. It'll be there soon enough. 3 Stars (Out Of 5)

Question: Have you seen Couples Retreat? What did you think? Who's your favorite "Funny White Dude"?!?

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