Review: The Five Year Engagement
The Five Year Engagement brings the duo of Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller back together following their success with Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Both movies are romantic comedies, and as of late romantic comedies have been average at best. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a great comedy in my eyes and Jason Segel proved in it that he could be the leading man of a comedy flick and he does so again in this film. However, the jokes are not as funny or as witty. The cast is talented so that is not a part of the issue however, the writing is lacking which you wouldn't expect considering Segel and Stoller penned the script. The film is more of a modern look at people planning to marry one another as frequently it interferes with career paths or what have you.
The plot follows Tom Solomon (Segel) and Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt) as they are celebrating the New Year and Tom is trying to propose. He had a difficult time actually getting to propose as distractions kept coming up but eventually with the help of his work buddy Alex (Chris Pratt), he was able to and Violet said yes. Many of their friends are happy for them, while their families are surprised they are getting married after only a year of dating. Furthermore, Tom's family wants a Jewish wedding and Violet's family wants a Christian family. At a party to celebrate the good news, we see that Violet's family is a bit disjointed. Her father is with a younger woman and her mother is a bitter drunk. Violet also has a younger sister. Suzie (Alison Brie), who is incredibly jealous over Violet's happiness. Alex sees Suzie's sadness and takes it as an opportunity to get laid, which then in case leads to them getting married. The two never set an exact date for the wedding and it then is pushed back when Violet has an opportunity to pursue her dreams. Tom, being the nice guy that he is, says it is okay to postpone the wedding as it would only be two years as opposed to the rest of their lives that they would be spending together.
With the marriage of Suzie and Alex, it puts more pressure on Tom and Violet but they couple has relocated to Michigan so that Violet can pursue her dreams. Being in Michigan puts a strain on their relationship as it cost Tom's career. In the previous home located in San Francisco he worked in a high end restaurant and then in Michigan he only could get a job in a low end sandwich shop. Violet was having the time of her life as she was able to pursue psychology and works hard at it for a full five years. The more time that goes by the more and frustrated Tom becomes. So much so that he becomes like a hunter and becomes increasingly pathetic to the point that Violet loses her attraction to him. Over time the film begins to drag into plenty of cliches of the many romantic comedies that have come before it.
The Five Year Engagement is no Sarah Marshall but it still has some funny scenes. The highlight of them is a scene between Violet and Suzie where they talk in the voices of Elmo and the Cookie Monster in front of Violet's child. Alison Brie is famous for her roles in television shows such as Community and Mad Men, but in this film she really shows off her comedic chops. I found myself laughing more at her than anyone in the film, and the same goes for Chris Pratt as her husband. It wasn't that Jason Segel isn't funny it's just that his character was a bit pathetic espescially in the second half of the film. Emily Blunt was a pleasant surprise considering this is her first true "comedy" film and she had a great chemistry with Segel. The problems with The Five Year Engagement lie within the long running time and the script. The elongated running time is no shock as even Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a bit too long. Think back to all of the romantic comedies that Judd Apatow had been involved in and you will see that all of them had hit a few moments where it dragged on too long. All in all, it is good for a few laughs but it may not be worth the price of admission. The best choice would be to wait for it to come out on video.