EMILY BLUNT JASON SEGEL CHRIS PRATT ALISON BRIE JACKI WEAVER
THE FIVE YEAR Engagement
Easily more funny and less vulgar than Knocked Up, perhaps the Judd Apatow produced
films have finally matured into something beyond what every other rated R romantic
comedy is doing now. The Five Year Engagement is also a better movie for Segel and
Blunt, who played a couple in the awful Gulliver’s Travels. Splashing “from the producers
of Bridesmaids” on the poster and trailer shouldn’t mean that it is anywhere near
as iconic and Oscar worthy. However, it does have its enlightened moments and, I
would go as far to say it is the most enjoyable film from Segel, as I find him extremely
When Violet (Blunt) and Tom (Segel) met it was humorous, and their engagement was
quite charming, but now, while planning their wedding, Violet has just landed her
dream job in Michigan. Tom gives up his successful job as a chef in a premiere San
Francisco restaurant to support his future wife, but instantly finds himself bored
and uninspired in their new frigid climate. Two years turn into more as Violet is
really good at what she does and Tom starts to lose his sanity working in a fast
food restaurant. The couple’s relationship evolves into something neither want and,
as they keep pushing off their wedding, they must evaluate their dedication to each
Emily Blunt has a growing popularity among American audiences; everyone I know finds
her charming and she displays that quality once again here. Her character portrayals
are recently not that dissimilar from each other, however. Her previous film, Salmon
Fishing in the Yemen, was a better overall film than what we see here. Segel, having
worked with Apatow and this type of comedy before, doesn’t deliver anything to write
home about, but does get points for toning it down on the typically overly animated
characters he plays. Unfortunately, Siegel, as usual, has to get naked like he does
in almost every movie. I was impressed the most by Chris Pratt (Moneyball) and Brie
(Scream 4), who play the best friend and sister. Their unusual romance and completely
unexpected chemistry stole the show, both together and individually.
The movie’s biggest problem occurs in the third act where we realize the script
has lingered too long on scenes like frost bitten toes, dead relatives, and zany
macho fighting and needs to wrap up quickly. However, all is forgotten when the best
scene of the entire film takes place as Blunt and Brie imitate Cookie Monster and
Elmo in front of children while discussing adult matters--extremely well played!
There are also some good supporting actors like Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver (Animal
Kingdom) as Violet’s mother and Rhys Ifans (Harry Potter) as the professor, who elevate
the film above its degrading, stupid moments.
Final Thought – Could have been edited a bit tighter, but has some charming and
By: Dustin Chase W.
Rated R 124 min opens 4/27/2012
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
This movie has lots of laughs, and in many ways makes for a light, enjoyable evening.
But it also has depth, which, remarkably, is sometimes the source of the humor.
Jason Segel, the writer (and star, as Tom), is an astute observer of human behavior,
and is able to portray the characters’ foibles in ways that actually endear them
to us. This characteristic allows the filmmakers to make ethnic jokes that are truly
funny. The director Nicholas Stollar co-wrote the screenplay and is to be congratulated
with Segal for a very fine job.
The serious part of the film involves the difficult issue many couples have in real
life of having to consider both marriage partners’ careers. We know all too well
of occasions when there is necessarily a “winner” and a “loser”, and resolving that
dilemma does not always work out across time. The problem becomes more complicated
when two careers actually create diverging courses in life. In this case, one pursues
a career in academic psychology, which does not necessarily have much in common with
the business of being a chef. Tom and his fiancé, Violet (Emily Blunt) struggle
mightily in attempting to transcend the gap. Their relationship is entirely believable
throughout the story.
The film likewise succeeds in illustrating the difficulty of fitting marriage into
today’s world, overflowing with distractions and pressures. I liked the part of
the movie that makes the point that adequate, i.e., real, communication between partners
is essential, even when it is painful and when it would seem so much easier simply
to ignore conflict, hoping it will disappear.
I do have to fault the movie in one respect, which is that some of the slapstick
scenes go on too long, and are really unnecessary to the plot, e.g., one character
ending up in the snow half naked and getting frostbitten. There were several of
these scenes that could easily have been edited out. It drug a bit in the midsection
as well. Some slapstick was hilarious, however, such as the hunting scenes with
the men in hand-knit sweaters.
The acting is top-notch from Segel and Blunt—who show good chemistry—as well as
on the part of the supporting cast. Portrayals of their family members and co-workers
were excellent. And the scene with the two child actors observing Blunt and her
sister (played by Alison Brie) being Sesame Street characters discussing a serious
subject is outstanding.