The Five-Year Engagement is an interesting beast of a movie. With Judd Apatow attached as producer it’s been promoted as this year’s Bridesmaids. Mix in Nicholas Stoller, the director of the extremely funny Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, along with stars Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, and needless to say my expectations were high going in. And although it didn’t completely fail me, it did drag on way too long.
It’s New Year’s Eve and Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt) are on their way to celebrate their first anniversary when Tom pops the big question. They’re both super happy about the idea of getting married. They have an engagement party and everything seems perfect for them. Then things keep getting in the way and the wedding keeps getting pushed back. An unexpected pregnancy from someone close, grandparents dying, job offers across the country; it all piles up. As the years go by they begin to grow apart and, as expected, everything eventually falls apart before they can live happily ever after.
As noted, the movie is about 40 minutes too long and there is a lot of pointless filler. The flashback scene to when Tom and Violet first met was funny once. By the end of the film, when that scene had been shown five or six times, it was just annoying. With a better editor they could have packaged this as a tight 90 minute flick and it would probably have been something great instead of something just okay.
What does work well, and what I did enjoy about the film enough to recommend it, was the cast. Blunt and Segel have amazing chemistry and played off each other extremely well. The supporting cast was even better though, with Alison Brie of Mad Men and Community fame stealing every scene she was in. Watching her do an Elmo impersonation while keeping her character’s British accent in one scene showed real talent and was absolutely hilarious. Chris Pratt, who plays Tom’s best friend Alex, got to show off his perfect comic timing and was a lot of fun to watch, too.
The Five-Year Engagement is far from bad, but it’s nothing as groundbreaking as Bridesmaids was. If you’re looking for a nice night out with your partner, it does its job well. If you’re looking for the comedy of the year, look elsewhere.
Cast: Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Top image: A scene from The Five-Year Engagement. Courtesy Universal Pictures.