Idol Chatter hangs out at the intersection of faith and culture, and such is the exact location of the current film “Couples Retreat.” This has enough laughs to get you through, enough awkward moments to make you squirm, enough drama to sustain your interest and enough text on the topic to send spiritually minded people towards exactly what we need after a movie: some great conversation about stuff that matters!
Marriage is a solemn institution in our country that runs the risk of being downgraded to an ebbing tradition. Not enough churches really stimulate authentic conversations about what’s really going on in a marriage, and typical marriage retreats are full of speakers and music but not necessarily the kind of deep and frank candor required to get to the core of real issues. “Couples Retreat” leaves no room for hiding.
Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love and Kristen Bell are among the stars in this yarn directed by Peter Billingsley (“Ironman,” “The Break-Up,” “Elf”). There’re also some great cameos (including Jean Reno). The plot involves four couples who head for a tropical resort for a vacation. What three of the couples don’t know is that the resort’s purpose is for marriage restoration and the therapy sessions are not optional!
What ensues, of course, is good fun, some (unfortunately) expected gags and some moments that probably won’t win any screenwriting Oscars but are enough to qualify as depth and get the point across. I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice it to say that no couple will be able to escape the grasp of at least one issue from the screen that has probably come up in real life.
According to the Barna Research Group, “Adults in the U.S. are deploying new approaches to marriage, communications, sexuality, education – and how they deal with faith.” A great new approach is to have a meaningful date, go with some couples you know and/or love, laugh it up at “Couples Retreat” and then go chat about it over coffee or drinks after. It’s the kind of interaction that builds us as people, and is cause for appreciating a movie that takes us there.