Mark and Claire Bowman, James and Donna Harlow, and Bobby and Melody Castle are all close friends, but they are also all struggling in their marriages. Mark has unresolved issues with his father, James is gone all the time, and Bobby has a gambling problem. That’s why they decide to take advantage of a marriage retreat sponsored by their church. They go into the experience with the wrong intentions and quickly find out that they are not all they thought they were. They will have to dig deep in order to save their marriages from disaster.
Production Quality (.5 point)
To begin, the camera and sound quality are pretty good, but that is the extent of the positive elements. The sets are very cheap and limited. Unfortunately, it is difficult to pinpoint how this film could have been edited better, since it is hard for us to quantify its actual plot. There is little else that can be said about Marriage Retreat’s production since much of the movie appears to be mostly impromptu work. One other thing that should be noted is that some of the wedding photos used in the beginning credits are obviously photo-shopped, but when the rest of the movie is considered, this should not be surprising.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
As mentioned, there is little to no plot in this film, not only because it is very limited in scope, but most of the dialogue is very impromptu. A majority of the scenes do not appear to have a clear script, so they meander along a path of horrific attempts at comedy, replete with clownish dialogue. Therefore, the characters greatly resemble the actual actors themselves. This plot’s one small redeeming quality is that it has a good message, but it is lost in a sea of cheap and ridiculous attempts at humor. There is plenty of potential here to showcase different marital issues among Christian couples, but it is reduced to a C-grade cable channel movie that will never make any impact in Christian culture.
Acting Quality (0 points)
It is noble and notable to cast married couples together in this sort of movie, but like everything else potentially positive in this film, it is washed away. There is zero acting coaching for this small cast, which seems to indicate a certain amount of overconfidence on the part of the actors. With coaching, some of the comedy could have been actually funny, but alas, it is just another item on the list of lost potential.
True comedy is needed in Christian movies, as are movies that take on the struggles of Christian marriages. However, Marriage Retreat only serves to further make a laughingstock of Christian films. Instead of quickly spinning out more and more movies, PureFlix crews need to stop and think on the implications of quantity over quality. It is not worth it to simply make movies about good topics—we cannot stress this enough—care and attention must be given to production, plot, and acting quality. Otherwise, the valuable message is completely lost.
Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points