Opening This Weekend: Vince Vaughn Goes Tropical, Carey Mulligan Gets Famous

Since you won’t get mail on Monday, Columbus Day actually does count as a real holiday! But not according to Hollywood, we guess: Instead of flooding the market with ample choices for moviegoers this weekend, only one film gets a nationwide release. That’s fine for us, though; perhaps it means all of you slackers who didn’t go see Whip It last weekend will correct that mistake. As we do every Friday, here’s a handy guide to the new releases.

Couples Retreat

What’s the story: With fall firmly in the air, what better time to see a movie about a tropical paradise?  Apparently, after having such a good time filming The Break Up, Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman and Peter Billingsley (Ralphie from A Christmas Story!) decided their next adventure would take place on a beach. The four friends reunite for Couples Retreat (Mr. Billingsley directs the others from a script by Messrs. Vaughn and Favreau), a relentlessly mediocre-looking studio comedy that is sure to make us long for the days of Swingers and even Made. As a side note, we’re not sure when Mr. Vaughn became the chief purveyor of these kind of PG-13 comedies (see: Four Christmases), but we liked it a whole lot more when the guy was in rated-R movies. Come back to us, Vince!

Who should see it: Trent and Mike from Swingers.

An Education

What’s the story: Such is life for up-and-coming movie stars in 2009: Carey Mulligan, the ingénue at the center of Lone Scherfig’s An Education has already been crowned the belle of the Oscar ball and her movie hasn’t even come out yet! (By our count, you can expect the backlash to strike sometime around Thanksgiving.) Based on the memoir by Lynn Barber and adapted for the screen by About A Boy’s Nick Hornby, An Education finds Ms. Mulligan starring as a 16-year-old girl in 1960s England who is seduced by an inappropriate 30-something, played by Peter Sarsgaard. Despite the generic-seeming premise, the reviews have been over-the-moon and Ms. Mulligan has been compared to Audrey Hepburn. Inevitable backlash or not, get used to her.

Who should see it: Roman Polanski. (Too soon?)

Also opening this weekend: Michael Sheen and Peter Morgan reunite yet again for The Damned United, which tells the story of the short-lived tenure of Leeds United coach Brian Clough. And Chris Rock gets to the bottom of Good Hair.

Opening This Weekend: Vince Vaughn Goes Tropical, Carey Mulligan Gets Famous