couples20retreat

After laying into bromance films last week, I had to check out last night's screening of Couples Retreat here in D.C. The film officially opens on Friday and centers on a group of friends who head to a couples' skill-building resort with the hopes of rekindling lost love. Starring Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell and a handful of comedic veterans, Couples Retreat, offers a refreshing new approach to bromanticism -- add more chicks. Every blundering buddy had a female foil to keep him on his toes, so I figured this unique on-screen dynamic would be worth watching. Still, mama didn't raise no fool; the pants-dropping trailer had me prepared to see Faizon Love, the token black friend, get mistreated by his white buddies.

Yet surprisingly, the buds weren't as bad as I expected.

Love's character Shane was more developed than any black friend I've seen so far. He was sensitive and relatable, considered to be just as much "suburban trash" as his white counterparts. With his short-sleeved, checkered button-ups and wire-rimmed glasses, Love played the part of a dorkish divorcee, and I actually dug his role. True, he was naked by the first half hour of the film and had some stale one-liners: "Pow Pow." "Bang Bang." "Boom." But I wouldn't mind being stuck on an island resort with this black buddy. And as far as bromance films go, I'd say it's a step in the right direction.

Now, the ladies in Couples Retreat were another story. Shane had two love interests in the film -- Trudy, his underage girlfriend, and Jennifer, his estranged wife. As Trudy, Kali Hawk did an annoyingly high-pitched rendition of a high maintenance PYT. She was the typical loud, ignorant and irritating black woman I tire of seeing on-screen, and I couldn't help but to roll my eyes every time she called Shane (many years her senior) "Daddy." Jennifer, played by Tasha Smith, doesn't get too much screen time, so I can't say I got a sense of her character, but I checked out during Smith's bland monologue about looking for love when it was right in front of her. (SIDE NOTE TO CASTING DIRECTORS: Does Tasha Smith have to play every sister in a supporting role? There have to be better B-List black actresses out there.)

Oh well, maybe I should be satisfied that Shane didn't make me roll my eyes, even if his women did. It may be asking too much to see well-developed black male and female characters on the silver screen. Don't strain yourself, Hollywood.

-- SAARET E. YOSEPH

Saaret Yoseph is a writer and Assistant Editor at TheRoot.com. She manages and blogs for "Their Eyes Were Watching ..."