02 February 2014

Quickie Movie Review: "Marriage Retreat"

Rated: Not Rated (Dove approved for ages twelve and up)
Starring: Jeff Fahey, David A. R. White, and Victoria Jackson
Released: August 23, 2011 (DVD)
Synopsis: Mark Bowman (David A. R. White, Jerusalem Countdown) and his wife Claire (Andrea Logan White, In the Blink of an Eye) are at a standstill in their marriage.  She wants a family; he feels unprepared for fatherhood.  Bobby (Tommy Blaze, Me Again) and Melody Castle (Caroline Choi), friends of the Bowmans, feel the same way; Bobby's gambling addiction is ruining their lives.  Donna Harlow (Anna Zielinski, Jerusalem Countdown) is trying to control her soap star husband James' (Matthew Florida) every move, for fear of abandonment, which causes frustration for both parties.  While attending a church service, they hear of a marriage retreat center, run by Craig (Jeff Fahey, Lost) and Katrina Sullivan (Victoria Jackson, Saturday Night Live), which they all attend.  Will they figure out the problems with their marriages before it's too late?
Produced by Pure Flix, makers of The Mark, The Encounter, and The Imposter.

My Review: This is better than usual for a Christian movie! The acting is great, the production values are good, and it doesn't have the fake, cheesy feel you get from some other "inspirational" flicks, such as C Me Dance.  It may have the same theme as Fireproof, but its take on marriage is completely different.  Unfortunately, viewers might not get what they expect, and for two reasons: First off, the cover--as seen in this post--makes this appear to be a comedy, when it really isn't.  Some silly moments may elicit a chuckle or two, but that doesn't keep this film from falling into the genre of drama.  Not only that, but, even though Reginald Vel Johnson's (Family Matters) name and likeness appear both in the trailer and on the cover, he gets a mere few minutes of screen time; he appears not long after the flick starts, only to disappear completely until right before the credits roll.  Maybe those are just gimmicks to get viewers to watch this film who usually wouldn't bother, but, it felt a bit disappointing.  Other than that, and an annoying song on the soundtrack, I enjoyed this movie.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Married couples are seen kissing, and one couple's sex life is discussed. 4/5
  • Nudity: None. 5/5
  • Language: Some name-calling is present. 4.5/5
  • Violence: A trust exercise involves wives shooting their husbands with paintball guns. 4.5/5
  • Drugs: None. 5/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: The arguing within and between couples gets a bit intense.  (SPOILER ALERT!) A woman gives birth, and, though nothing graphic is seen, she screams a lot, which may be unsettling.  Also, a guy showing a scar left by his abusive father is a bit disturbing. (END SPOILERS!) 3.5/5
  • Other: Young kids may not understand this movie anyway, since it largely deals with marriage. 4/5
Final Score: 4/5

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