Cuddle up with popcorn, movie

The critics have not been at all kind to Couples Retreat (The Globe andMail warns, “Couples, Retreat”) but the romantic comedy led at the boxoffice last weekend with $35.3 million.

The critics have not been at all kind to Couples Retreat (The Globe and Mail warns, “Couples, Retreat”) but the romantic comedy led at the box office last weekend with $35.3 million.

Date movies, like family movies, aren’t designed to have particular appeal to anyone in particular, but to be tolerable compromise entertainment for everybody.

They should be earthy enough to make him laugh, yet not so crude as to put her off her popcorn. The audience isn’t too picky. The point of the exercise is to go to a movie together. As long as you both aren’t rolling your eyes at the same scenes, the date movie can be considered a success.

These productions aren’t my usual thing, especially when quality cinema like Zombieland beckons, but I care about our relationship, dearest reader. I saw it for you. I want this to work out.

I also care enough about my beloved not to subject her to date movies, so I went alone. Weirdly, I wasn’t the only single there.

There probably isn’t much need to recount the plot. The movie stars Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, who is looking uncannily like Tony Soprano, and some Kristins. Four couples find themselves stuck in a tropical resort where they’re forced into relationship therapy.

A movie talking about relationships could be seen as a bit of a horror movie for guys, so it’s laced with what are clearly intended as dude moments: Penis jokes, girls in bikinis, some sharks and a totally bitchin’ Guitar Hero showdown.

The big message? Don’t take each other for granted. Cheating is wrong.

Weirdly, on the press junkets for the movie, Vaughn slipped this bit into an interview: “The only expert thing I know about a relationship is that I don’t know anything. I think every time I think I know something, obviously you then learn that you don’t know anything, but I do know this to be true: I know that men marry women hoping that they will not change, and women marry men hoping that they will change, and inevitably everyone is disappointed.”

Should have put that one in the movie, Vince.

Instead, and I hope I’m not spoiling anything, the couples, after much upset, remember why they fell in love with each other in the first place, and there’s a Wizard of Oz wrap-up ending where they find out they had it in them all along.

Date movies, eh?

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