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Archive for the ‘Five Year Engagement’ Category

Five Year Engagement, The – Review


A strange thing happened during the course of watching the new Judd Apatow produced and Jason Segal written, The Five Year Engagement.  I found myself thinking, “Oh ha ha.  This is kind of funny and a little bit touching at times.”  Then about halfway through thinking, “God I hate this movie, and I hope it’s over soon.  Wait it’s over?  Well that was stupid.”  To then thinking, “Oh it’s not over?  Oh I kind of like this.  This is kind of touching and a little bit funny.”  Now it’s the hardest thing in the world to pull off a great comedy film, and it’s even harder to pull off a great comedy/DRAMA film.  Last years Bridesmaids did this better than I’ve seen in a long time.  The Five Year Engagement, which was brought to you by those same producers (which is just a fancy way of saying they ponied up the money for the film), tries to do this, succeeding and failing in the same stroke.   I liked this film, I hated this film, I appreciated this film, but I can’t say I loved this film.

Jason Segal stars as Tom, an up and coming sous chef in the San Francisco area, and Emily Blunt plays Violet, his out of work, post-doctoral fiance.  Tom’s star is rising, Violet’s is laying low.  That is soon to change though, because Violet is offered a position at the University of Michigan, in the psychology department.  Tom decides to give up everything in order for Violet to take advantage of the opportunity.  It’s only going to be for two years anyway Violet promises…yeah right.

Tom soon realizes two years is going to turn in to five, and most likely five will turn in to a lifetime.  He’s miserable in Michigan, and constantly hears about the success of his best friend Alex, played by Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation. Alex got the head chef job at a new restaurant that was destined to be Tom’s.  Tom wanted what was best for Violet though, because he loves her, but now that Violet’s star is rising, and Tom’s is quickly descending, he is left to wonder if this is really the life he wants.

There’s a lot of fun to be had along the way as these two people figure out the terms of their new relationship, constantly pushing back their own engagement.  They see family members being born, and family members die, and are constantly kept wondering if they are making the right choices along the way.  Life has a funny way of stabbing you in the back, and not working out the way you like it too.  Luckily we get to laugh along the way in this story, but I almost felt like some of the jokes were a hinderance to the sweetly tragic plot that is unfolding along the way.

This story is actually very realistic, and has happened to many people in their own lives.  They make choices, and give up dreams, and chase dreams for themselves or others in their relationships.  In this film you almost feel forced to laugh at times, as if the audience needs a reprieve from the events at times.  It’s time to laugh in this part, oh ok…now let’s get back to the serious bits again, and it causes the film to feel forced at times.

The length of the film is also a major problem.  It unfolds in three acts, but once you get to the third act you’re burnt out and tired, just like the couple on screen is.  Comedy films should not push the two hour boundary, and this one goes over it.  Segal and Blunt are great on screen as is Alison Brie who plays Blunt’s sister Suzie.  They keep the film entertaining enough at times, but can’t seem to pull off a resounding win.

Grade: B-