Cert: 15 Runtime: 124 mins Director: Nicholas Stoller Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Dakota Johnson and Rhys Ifans
This is supposed to be exciting. It’s your wedding – you only get a few of these!
Nicholas Stoller is one of these guys to watch on the silver screen, he has written Yes Man, Get Him to the Greek and The Muppets. He has also directed Forgetting Sarah Marshall and now The Five-Year Engagement. Having worked with Jason Segel in many films and Emily Blunt featuring in a couple of his works, it was time he brought out a funny rom-com. Tom Solomon (Jason Segel) and Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt) are madly in love. Despite a repeatedly botched proposal, they are destined to be wed. But what starts as a short engagement with immediate marriage planning eventually gets stretched into a couple of years. The lovers decide to move away from Tom’s successful sous-chef job in San Francisco so that Violet can pursue a psychology career at the University of Michigan. Head professor Winton Childs (Rhys Ifans) manages to extend Violet’s position there, spreading the engagement into a five-year stretch that weighs heavily on Tom’s contentment and Violet’s ability to handle his perceived lack of success in the new environment.No ground breaking ideas or themes are presented in The Five-Year Engagement, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. Spurts of slapstick, a dash of vulgar humour, generous helpings of uncomfortable awkwardness, and a pinch of melodrama seasons the film with a cross of genres and unexpected laughs. Although moments of sudden darkness cloud the generally light-hearted mood.
With most films of this genre you get the same thing over and over again: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl split up, boy and girl get back together and live happily ever after. In The Five-Year Engagement what you get is an in depth look at the ins and outs of a stable relationship as it journeys through the ups and downs of life. I think that this is a great idea and shows that relationships don’t always run smoothly as plenty of other films would have you believe. I also believe that The Five-Year Engagement separates itself from other comedies aimed at an adult audience by being cleverer and, although we do get to see Jason Segel’s rear end on more than one occasion, a lot of the comedy is very well written and obviously well put together.There is clear chemistry between the two leads of the film, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt which is obviously helped by their off screen friendship and the fact that the two of them have worked together previously. Segel puts in a great performance but I don’t think that we ever get to see the best of him like we have seen in The Muppets and television sitcom How I Met Your Mother. He is a very fine comedic actor though and brings out some good laughs here; I’m not a fan of Emily Blunt too much and at times her comedy efforts seemed a little forced. Also, her accent seems overly British even though it’s authentic, how weird is that?
The Five-Year Engagement starts off very well with some hilarious moments and really sets you up for what should be a laugh a minute film from start to finish. A lot of this is the emphasis put on the characters of Tom’s colleague and friend Alex (Chris Pratt) and Violet’s sister Suzie (Alison Brie). Whilst their relationship offers very little to the film as a whole their individual contribution to scenes are very well delivered. Chris Pratt is wonderfully funny in almost every scene in which he features and a particular scene featuring Pratt’s Alex delivering a presentation of Tom’s former girlfriends is my favourite part of the film and a brilliantly written and acted scene. Unfortunately, their characters seem to fizzle out and so does the film itself.There is a reason that most romantic comedies are only an hour and a half long; the plot cannot sustain a two hour movie without lagging. The Five-Year Engagement does try and stretch over two hours and you would think that with five years of a relationship to tell then it would easily manage this without getting too boring. You would be wrong. It gets to a point where you think it could be coming to an end only to realise there is still about half an hour left and after a while the laughs become a sparse item. Don’t get me wrong, The Five-Year Engagement at times is hilarious and it is definitely a great romantic comedy with real stock in the lead characters but it tails off towards the end. It is still, though, definitely worth watching!