A man and a woman meet, fall in love, get engaged. The next step is obvious. Obvious, but not easy. Between career opportunities and unexpected family situations, the initiation process to their next stage in life - the wedding - keeps getting pushed back, a victim of life's little ironies and twists. The Five-Year Engagement looks at the ups and downs of their relationship, capturing the funny moments along the way. Unfortunately, the movie also feels like it is five years long.
Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star as Tom and Violet, who love each other dearly but whose marriage is put on hold when Violet gets accepted into a doctorate program at the University of Michigan. Tom agrees to move with her, despite his skyrocketing culinary career in Los Angeles. While Violet embraces her new life, Tom hates his. Things go downhill from there.
From director Nicholas Stoller, who collaborated with his co-writer Segel on the hilarious Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five-Year Engagement follows the same creed as other Judd Apatow-produced comedies: be funny, sometimes raunchy, but keep things real, with a little exaggeration. Pepper the movie with interesting supporting characters and don't be afraid to pull at the heartstrings. Find actors who have great chemistry together.
The Five-Year Engagement lives up to many of the expectations set by its movie kin. The movie is funny, especially in the first half. Segel and Blunt make for a believable couple, their exchanges casual, adorable and realistic. The supporting actors - namely Alison Brie ("Community") and Chris Pratt ("Parks & Recreation") - add color to the story. Brie is especially good. In other words, there is plenty to enjoy with The Five-Year Engagement.
Unfortunately, in his attempt to capture every nuance, every up and down, every tumultuous moment of Tom and Violet's five-year engagement, Stoller loses sight of the movie's goal: to entertain the audience. By the time the movie nears its end, it feels like it's been going for five years, when in fact it's been just over two hours. The Five-Year Engagement gets bogged down in unnecessary subplots, opting to show the audience more than anyone really cares to see. It goes over the top, too, taking Tom's character in a strange direction that feels out of place.
Simply put, had The Five-Year Engagement been half an hour tighter, it would have been yet another great, endearing comedy from the Judd Apatow gang. As is, it's an inconsistent film that features great chemistry between the two leads and some truly funny moments, but suffers from a dull, meandering third act and some weird plot turns. Wait until DVD.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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