Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Running time: 2 hr. 4min.
Release date: April 27, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Drama and Romance
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
The director and writer/star Jason Segal of Forgetting Sarah Marshall reteam for this irreverent comedy. Beginning where most romantic comedies end, this new film from director Nicholas Stoller, producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin) and Rodney Rothman (Get Him to the Greek) looks at what happens when an engaged couple, Jason Segal and Emily Blunt, keeps getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle. It all boils down to a couple's journey between popping the question and tying the knot.
Emily Blunt shows her range as a comedic actress, as she brilliantly portrays Violet Barnes, a young woman with a psychology background. She is happy living and staying home in New York City, as her boyfriend and sole-provider of their household Tom Solomon played by Jason Segel is working very hard to become a head chef at a trendy sophisticated Manhattan restaurant. After witnessing Violet's younger sister Suzie (Alison Brie) get married, Tom and Violet make a date for their wedding. As family members from both sides come together in assisting the complicated and often humorous preparations, Violet receives an offer to do a 2 year psychology research project appointment and a possibility to get tenure at a Michigan university where she would be employed. Rather than holding Violet back with her career, Tom decides he could find a restaurant in Michigan which would allow Violet to pursue her dream. This postpones the wedding and this begins the ups and downs of this engaged couple's relationship.
With cast members of Chris Pratt, Lauren Weedman, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer, Jacki Weaver, and Jim Piddock, the plot gives the characters they play the set-up sequences of events the become quite repetitive over a 2 hour movie. The first 90 minutes of this film is solid and enduring. As a romantic comedy, each of the lead characters are involved in some sexual and romantic pursuit strongly identifying their compelling, visible desire. Each try desperately to maintain and win back the love of each other while another pursues another visible desire. They are desperate to achieve their goals, and terrified by the conflicts they face.
The driving motivation in the film actually grows out of immense pain and loss. What makes this RomCom successful for the first hour and a half involves the unemployment situations. The humor arises from the way they overreact to their situation. They devise fantastic plots and schemes. These elements work well, because the audience falls in love with the characters and their romance. I found myself rooting for each to win and maintain their love for each other against all the insurmountable obstacles. I felt the continual battle between the comfort and longing, along with the stress between fear and desire. However, the boy gets girl, boy loses girl and boy gets girl back can only be examine a limited amount of times. In this film, I found this scenario to be too repetitive. Eventually it became cliche.
My problem with The Five Year Engagement is the filmmaker did not realize that the magic cannot be recreated through a repetitive and recurring series of lame sequences. This process causes the creative triad of an ideal romantic comedy to be off-balanced and lose it's substance and impact.
I would have felt more comfortable with this film, if it was edited down a good 30 minutes.
FILM RATING (C+)