Couples Retreat

  • Review Date: September 28, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Vaughn/Favreau marriage comedy has lots of sex, drinking.
  • Review Date: September 28, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the four central couples go through many ups and downs over the course of the movie, ultimately the story is very pro-marriage/commitment. None of the couples has a "perfect" relationship, and they all have to put in real effort to make their partnerships succeed.

Positive role models

None of the characters are perfect, though some have more flaws than others (Joey is openly lecherous for much of the movie, Dave can be self-centered, Jason and Cynthia come across as uptight and controlling, etc.) -- but they all learn something over the course of the movie. Ronnie and Dave have the most loving and healthy relationship in the movie, though they still have issues they have to deal with. One couple's decision to break up because he didn't want to pretend to be someone he wasn't for her is important for teenagers contemplating romantic relationships to understand.

Violence

Dave gets splashed with a bloody bucket of chum and may have been nipped by a small shark (but the scene is funny, not scary). In another comedic bit, a rainstorm tips a couple out of their canoe, and they have to be saved by their friends. In an early scene, Dave trains his bedside gun on a suspected intruder.

Sex

Lots of jokes (verbal and visual) about adultery, masturbation, erections/"happy endings," and several very lewd yoga positions (complete with suggestive thrusting). A man's erection is clearly outlined under a sheet. Couples make out passionately and are shown in bed together, but there aren't any full-fledged sex scenes. Two shots of partial nudity -- one played for laughs (a characterdoesn't wear boxers, so when he's asked to strip down to his underwear,the audience sees his naked rear) and one that's more about ogling a dripping wet man -- but no sensitive body parts shown. Lots of skimpy bathing suits and beach wear, as well as some sensuous dancing and massage.

Language

Although there are no F-bombs, there are plenty of uses of "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," and derivatives of those words, as well as "hell," "damn," "hump," "twatting" (used in place of "tweeting"), "balls," "screw," "oh my God," etc.

Consumerism

Apple computers and Guitar Hero are shown frequently, with the video game gettng mentioned as part of Dave's work and even played during a fairly long scene. Also mentions of Froot Loops, PowerPoint, Sandals Resorts, and Applebee's; charaters drink Budweiser.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults on vacations drink (wine, beer, hard liquor/mixed drinks) and get tipsy/drunk pretty frequently, especially once they all go to the singles resort, where people are doing body shots and more. A 20-year-old character (who's the most avid partier of the bunch) has booze poured directly into her mouth at one point.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau was originally rated R for sexual content and language, but the MPAA lowered the rating to PG-13 after an appeal. But there's no shortage of sexual innuendo remaining, as well as jokes about adultery, "happy endings," sexual frequency, erections, and the like. Couples are shown kissing passionately (often clothed in only bathing suits), one character's naked rear is shown, and a yoga class gets very suggestive. The language includes regular use of "s--t," "ass," "bitch," and more, and the characters (one of whom is only 20, a fact that's mentioned several times) drink frequently. That said, underneath it all, there's a surprisingly sweet message about the importance of marriage and commitment ... which may not be of much interest to teens, though they'll likely still be drawn to the movie by the cast.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Vince Vaughn is Dave, a video game salesman married to Ronnie (Malin Akerman), who's busy raising their two kids and renovating their home. When their close friends, buttoned-up Jason (Jason Bateman) and Cynthia (Kristen Bell), ask them and two other couples -- dissatsfied Joey (Jon Favreau) and his equally unhappy wife Lucy (Kristin Davis) and newly divorced Shane (Faizon Love) and his eye-candy girlfriend Trudy (Kali Hawk) -- to go on an all-inclusive COUPLES RETREAT in order to save their marriage, Dave and Ronnie are the first to reluctantly say yes. Once on the tropical island, they find out that even the couples who didn't think they needed marital advice must participate in the relationship-building program -- which is replete with mandatory therapy sessions, yoga, and fasting. As the week progresses, the four couples start wondering whether the resort is a relationship paradise or hell.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This is a family affair for Favreau and Vaughn (who also co-wrote and produced the film, which is directed by their pal Peter Billingsley), and it shows. There's a pleasant ease to the way the two men (along with their regular on-screen buddies) exchange jokes and poke barbs at each other. They're a long way from those single Swingers, but they've still got a hilarious rapport that makes audiences guffaw more than this middling comedy deserves. Unfortunately the movie feels overlong (it could've used a sharper edit), and except for Dave and Ronnie, the couples aren't really likable -- especially Joey and Lucy, who spend most of their time looking for younger hotties to ogle.

In addition to the eight leads, there are several noteworthy performances among the hotel staff. Cuban-American dreamboat Carlos Ponce (best known to Spanish-language soap fans) is a definite scene-stealer as Salvadore, the ripped, teeny-briefs-wearing yoga instructor. Jean Reno, always a delight to see, plays New Agey resort founder Marcel, and English comedian Peter Serafinowicz makes his Hollywood comedy debut with expert smirks, creepy smiles, and hilarious over-pronunciation as resort facilitator Sctanley (yes, that's spelled correctly). No, Vaughn and Favreau haven't surpassed their Swingers legacy, but this otherwise mediocre vacation comedy is saved by how charming they and their troupe are to watch on screen.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's message about relationships. Is there anything here that can be applied to issues of teen sexuality?

  • The movie was originally rated R before being downgraded to PG-13. Is that rating appropriate, or is it too mature for a PG-13? Why do you think the filmmakers pursued the lower rating?

  • What can the four couples teach teens about relationships?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 9, 2009
DVD release date:February 9, 2010
Cast:Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Kristen Bell, Vince Vaughn
Director:Peter Billingsley
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:on appeal for sexual content and language

This review of Couples Retreat was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old April 17, 2010
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

bad movie

ughh this movie wasnt good. maybe i had 2 or 3 laughs but most or it was just boring convo and sex. dont watch it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written bystacymavros March 9, 2010
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Not for kids...adults--just okay.

Beautiful scenery...had some funny moments but it was not great...I had hoped for better...Vince Vaughn and Jason Bateman acted it out well...but somehow the story just putzes...nothing in this movie is for kids.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 7 year old Written byMaxmum October 8, 2009
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Youth should be encouraged to retreat from this!

I myself did not overly enjoy this movie. The cast is great, but the delivery is pretty poor. Regarding kids seeing it, I think only older teens would be interested... I would advise against it, as it is actually not as funny as the ads present, and there is mature content that is inappropriate (sexual), and that they wouldn't understand (marriage!).
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Common Sense Kids Action