A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- In theaters: October 9, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: 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
- Last updated: November 30, 2020
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