Couples Retreat

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Couples Retreat Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Vaughn/Favreau marriage comedy has lots of sex, drinking.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byNicole W. October 26, 2020
Adult Written byStefan Tomasi August 26, 2019

Very funny movie

Couples Retreat is the funniest Vaughn and Favreau movie since The Break-Up. This movie is like The Break-Up that Goes on Vacation! Couples Retreat has crude se... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bysofiyap07 May 13, 2018

Really pushing it on the PG-13

It has a lot of drinking and sex, especially for a PG-13 movie. It is not that good but kind of funny.
Teen, 15 years old Written bySick bubblegum March 24, 2017

Iffy for 14+

Good movie on an island

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?

Movie details

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