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February 23, 2010
Couples Retreat Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
12/11/19982/2/2010UniversalPeter Billingsley
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MVince Vaughn

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Oh look, a Couples Retreat cast shot!

When you rattle off the names of actors in this movie it's an impressive list; Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis and Jean Reno just to name a few. With that in mind, and the concept of a retreat for couples being a moderately unique, could this movie ever fail? Let's take a look at this latest comedy from Universal Pictures...

Four couples embark on a journey to a tropical island resort. Whilst one couple is there to work on their marriage, the other three set out to enjoy some fun in the sun. When they discover that participation in the resort’s couples therapy is not optional suddenly their group-rate vacation comes at a price! What follows is a hilarious look at men, women and the marriages which come between them.

While I never saw this movie in cinemas I was very keen to check this out on Blu-Ray and you know what, it was funny, but not gut-busing at any point in time. In fact, given the long list of participants that we named above it lacked laughs for the most part with many of the best sections shown in the trailers (if you haven't seen them we suggest you avoid them until you see them). With a runtime of just under 2 hours the movie never seems overly long, but there are some sections that you feel could have been tightened up a little, particularly prior to the couples getting to Bora Bora.

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Time for some therapy for couples...
Ultimately Couples Retreat simply can't live up to the potential. Sure there are some amusing moments, and certainly the film is shot in some of the most gorgeous locations ever put to film, but fans of the actors here may be left somewhat disappointed. Still, with a worldwide gross of $US169 million there are certainly quite a few people that saw this at the cinemas, and may want to check this movie out again. Probably worth a rental.

Presented at the films original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 using the AVC MPEG-4 codec, and with a bitrate that constantly hovers above 30Mbps, this is a very solid presentation with a natural level of grain, superb colours and a level of sharpness we have become accustomed to on the format.

One of the biggest joys of watching this film was some of the absolutely gorgeous scenes shot around Bora Bora (you know, that ludicrously expensive island which no one but big name celebrities can afford). The first time you see this at 23:17 with the pristine blue water you will be gob smacked. Now I haven't been to Bora Bora myself, but anyone who has been to many Pacific islands will know that this is what some of the most gorgeous locations in the world look like and it really looks stunning at 1080p on Blu-Ray.

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Bora Bora, where Couples Retreat was filmed, looks absolutely stunning.
Couples Retreat is presented on Blu-Ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (24-bit/48Khz) which far exceeds what one would expect from a primarily dialogue driven movie. Indeed the dialogue is crystal clear, although primarily centered on the front channels. There is some music, especially towards the end of the movie which sounds great and the surround sound channels come into play on occasion too.

Other audio tracks on this disc include Spanish and French DTS tracks encoded at 768kbps as well as a Descriptive Video Service which is a 2 channel Dolby Digital track encoded at 192kbps. Subtitles are provided in English SDH, Spanish and French and samples of the English track demonstrated accuracy to dialogue on-screen with only very minor changes to shorten the text on occasions.

The Blu-Ray release of Couples Retreat includes quite a few extras including the ability to control the disc from a small iPhone/iPod Touch application available in the store called Pocket Blu. So, onto the extras...

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Faizon Love is a crack up as Shane while Kali Hawk is equally funny as Trudy.
U-Control Video Commentary (HD): This commentary is from director Peter Billingsley and writer/actor Vince Vaughn. This option puts a window in the bottom right of the screen in which the two are videoed while recording their audio commentary. It's not too thrilling, but good to see their facial expressions at various times, but it would be nice to just have the audio commentary on its own too.

Alternate Ending (2:56/HD): With an optional commentary from the director and writer/star Vince Vaughn this ending is a little tamer then that included but is a nice inclusion on this disc in any case.

Gag Reel (3:22/HD): Seen one gag reel, seen them all. Mainly fluffed lines it's funny but not much substance.

Deleted Scenes (10:01/HD): There are 9 deleted scenes presented here, again with optional commentary. Some of the scenes are pretty entertaining and could have been added back into the movie quite easily.

Extended Scenes (4:22/HD): Three scenes are presented here in extended form with optional extended commentaries. Again, there's some good moments here and these are worth checking out.

Therapy's Greatest Hits (5:31/HD): This featurette seems to show additional scenes and dialogue with the therapists.

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Jon Favreau and Kristin Davis in Couples Retreat.
Paradise Found: Filming in Bora Bora (6:18/HD): This is a more "normal" featurette in which the filmmakers discuss filming at Bora Bora.

Behind the Yoga (4:26/HD): One of the funniest scenes in the movie is the Yoga class, and this featurette focuses on this class. This is pretty hilarious and worth watching.

My Scenes (HD): Finally we have My Scenes where you can bookmark your favourite scenes in the movie.

While I'm generally a fan of the actors in Couples Retreat this movie didn't really hit it off with me. Sure there were some amusing moments - and we suggest you avoid the trailers as it shows some of the best moments - but it's not laugh-out-loud. The audio visual transfer is quite impressive while there is also a decent smattering of extras. At the very least it's worth a rental, and fans of the movie should be pleased with this Blu-Ray.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Universal. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.