PLOT: Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) are the perfect couple. After getting engaged, Violet is offered a position at the University of Michigan, and Tom insists on turning down a prestigious chef’s job in order to support her dream. Once they arrive in Michigan, Tom has a hard time adjusting, and their pending nuptials keep getting pushed further and further away.
REVIEW: I didn’t care too much for THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT. Went in expecting a fluffy rom-com in the vein of BRIDESMAIDS but ended up with a bloated (124 minutes!) weaksauce dramedy created by two guys (director Nicholas Stoller and star Jason Segel are the duo responsible for FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL) I thought were better than this.
I mean, seriously, Segel and Stoller are the duo who wrote THE MUPPETS! How did they go from writing such a sweet and joyous film like that to spewing out this crap? It doesn’t make sense. I thought they enjoyed the rom-com genre. It’s where the both of them have been playing for the last five years. That seems to indicate to me that they enjoy it and know how to work the genre. Turns out they don’t like it. They hate it. And they might hate you. Not sure but this film feels more like an attack on the genre rather than a new entry.
Okay …maybe the last sentence is a bit of stretch. THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT isn’t THAT bad. It certainly isn’t great (nowhere near) and definitely isn’t as good as MARSHALL, MUPPETS or even GET HIM TO THE GREEK (which Stoller directed) but it is watchable to an extent. An almost passable timewaster, if you will.
You’d have to be the worst f**king filmmaker on the planet to make a movie starring Segel, Emily Blunt, Mindy Kaling, Kevin Hart, Brian Posehn, Alison Brie, Chris Pratt, Chris Parnell, and Rhys Ifans unwatchable and Stoller is not that. He’s just a guy who fell into the Judd Apatow trap of letting each gag go on a little too long and allowing the final product to exceed two hours in length. For a good modern comedy to be effective it need not go past an hour and half.
Here’s my advice: Go for the stellar cast (especially Brie and Pratt who basically steal the show) and the solid chemistry of the leads (Segel and Blunt really deserved better) and try not to get too pissed at the lackluster storyline (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back) or the abrupt tone shifts (Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it both?). Oh and be sure to completely ignore the twenty-five minutes towards the end of the second act that burns the goodwill earned by the first hour by transforming our leads into unlikable douchenozzles (this “laugh free” zone begins when Ifans reveals his hidden parkour skills and ends at the Duran Duran cameo) till the finale rolls along and puts everything back on track. Do that and you might be able to have a good time. I didn’t have much of one but you might. Never know.