The Five Year Engagement (2012)

the five year engagement IMDb

The Five Year Engagement is an interesting follow up to 500 Days of Summer. Both deal with adjusting one’s expectations in relationships and learning to accept your partner for who he or she really is. This movie is funny, but it falls into the Hollywood trap of forcing a happy ending onto a situation that in reality would probably end less joyfully. Maybe I’d be a bit kinder to this movie if I hadn’t just watched 500 Days, but unfortunately for Jason Segel and Emily Blunt the two sit side by side on the shelf.

This is the story of Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt), a newly engaged couple who put wedding planning on hold when Violet is accepted to a post-doctoral program in Michigan. The program is supposed to last just two years, but when it’s extended the two further postpone their nuptials. Life keeps intervening, and the couple eventually decide to call it quits. However, after some time apart Tom and Violet decide they want to be together, no matter what life decides to throw at them.

There’s a lot to like here, it just doesn’t quite translate into something I love. Jason Segel and Chris Pratt (as Tom’s best friend) are fun to watch, but both are playing characters they’ve played before. Emily Blunt gives a great performance, but she’s overshadowed by Alison Brie as her younger sister who beats her to the alter. The big problem is that no one is really given anything interesting to do. This script is one rom-com cliche after anther, with very little originality.

Still, this isn’t the worst way to spend an hour and a half. There are many genuinely funny moments, especially for anyone who has ever had to navigate wedding planning. Tom’s struggle with being less successful than his future wife is a particularly well done plot point, and their rebound relationships are funny despite being completely predictable. In the end this movie is just OK. The ending feels like an afterthought, which is a shame because I feel like the film could have been saved if the conclusion was treated with more care.

Rating: C+

This is a bittersweet romantic comedy that ends nicely wrapped up in a Hollywood ending saccharine box.

Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star as Tom and Violet. A newly engaged couple that find making the actual day happen is far more difficult than they intended. When Violet is offered a once in a lifetime gig at a university in Michigan just after Tom pops the question, they uproot their lives in San Francisco and move. Tom gives up his promising job as a chef in a popular restaurant and ends up making sandwiches in Michigan for the career of his wife to be. Along the way, Tom and Violet share many ups and downs, some infidelities, and just when it looks like they’ll never be happy together, a Hollywood scriptwriter comes along and wraps everything up in the last ten minutes.

This film is funny, but it has more to do with the supporting cast. Alison Brie and Chris Pratt are hilarious as Violet’s sister and Tom’s best friend respectively. They steal every scene they are in, I was particularly impressed with Alison Brie’s ability to pull off a believable English accent. She sounds like she fits in well with Emily Blunt and the rest of her Pommy family, it’s a really good performance. Chris Pratt is great, as usual, he usually plays the same kind of character, but rarely is he a lead actor in a film. He needs to be careful not to fall into the trap Vince Vaughn has where he always plays the same person. If you’re a supporting character, you can get away with that, but when you’re carrying a film like Pratt will be doing shortly, it will get old very quickly, just as it did for Vince Vaughn. Pratt has a few movies coming out where he will be front and centre (Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World), but I’m sure he will be able to make the transition to leading man.

I’m barely talking about Segel and Blunt in this review because they are quite forgettable. Both actors have been far better in other roles (The Muppets and Forgeting Sarah Marshall for Segel, and The Devil Wears Prada and Edge of Tomorrow for Blunt). In this movie, they just feel like generic lovers who I really weren’t that interested in.

This generic romantic comedy earns points for having a terrific supporting cast, but it can’t save this film from feeling like an unoriginal romantic comedy with an uninspired and sickly sweet ending. Everyone involved has been better elsewhere.

Rating: C-

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