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Film / Couples Retreat

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Couples Retreat is a 2009 American romantic comedy directed by Peter Billingsley and written by Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, and Dana Fox that follows four couples (Vaughn, Malin Åkerman, Favreau, Kristin Davis, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Faizon Love, and Kali Hawk) going to a resort for a vacation which includes mandatory therapy sessions.

The film also stars Jean Reno, Peter Serafinowicz, Tasha Smith, and Ken Jeong.

It was released on October 9, 2009.


Tropes for the film:

  • Animal Motifs: At the end of the film, each couple is given an animal totem to represent their relationships; Dave and Ronnie are the Ass who stubbornly bears the troubles of themselves and others, Joey and Lucy are the Wolf as a pack animal that stays with their destined mate, Jason and Cynthia are the Rabbit who overcomes all obstacles, and Shane and the returned Jennifer are the Bee who will visit other flowers but always return to the hive.
  • The Finicky One: Jason, who actually gives his friends a PowerPoint presentation to discuss the possibility of divorcing his wife.
  • First Girl Wins: For the characters if not in-narrative; Shane ultimately reunites with his ex-wife when she turns out to have followed him to the retreat, the two acknowledging that they parted because they were afraid of having missed out on life but now accepting that they are each other's true loves.
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  • Going Commando: Played for laughs when the characters are told to take off their outer clothing as a therapy exercise and Shane admits he isn't wearing any underwear and unsuccessfully tries to refuse.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: The movie has this quote:
    Dave: What we need to do now is get focused and stop pointing fingers. [points at Joey] You're a problem. You're a real, real problem.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Jason and Cynthia have been having trouble conceiving, which led to their current relationship issues.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Features an extreme version of the trope, with the overweight Shane (Love) and his hot twenty-year old floozy of a girl, played by Kali Hawk (he wasn't even rich - but he acts like he has money, buying her a motorcycle). Lesser examples include the pudgy, slobby, older Jon Favreau and Vaughn being hooked up with the gorgeous Kristin Davis and Malin Akerman, respectively. Only one couple of the four could be described as a pair of attractive people- Bell and Bateman.