In terms of movies whose titles explain the plot, “The Five Year Engagement” is right up there with “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies” (actually a movie, can you believe it?). “The Five Year Engagement” is the story of the five year engagement between Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt).
The film opens with the marriage proposal on New Years Eve, one year after they met at a super hero costume party at which he was Super Bunny, she was Princess Diana, and they couldn’t resist each other. The proposal is charming and adorable, showcasing what a perfect couple they are. Of course, this being the beginning of the film, the only way to go is down, as they must deal with dying grandparents, moving cities, career changes, siblings with accidental pregnancies, and stale donuts.
The Good: Emily Blunt and Jason Segel have great chemistry, and are just so damn likeable as actors you can’t help but love them. They are supported by TV comedy greats Alison Brie (“Community”, ”Mad Men”) and Chris Pratt (”Parks and Recreation”), providing much of the humour as their respective sister and brother. It’s great to see Australian Jacki Weaver in a different kind of mother role to her Oscar nominated but disturbing one in “Animal Kingdom”. The film isn’t all light and fluffy, and delves into some pretty serious relationship problems in a manner where neither party is victimized or the villain, and you can actually see both sides of the issues – shocking, I know. You have to admire how far Jason Segel is willing to go to get a laugh (he may or may not reprise the habit he started in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and appear nude… a couple of times). It also has one of the cutest weddings I have seen on film.
The Bad: Romantic comedies should be no longer than 90 minutes, and while this has not happened since the explosion of Judd Apatow movies, it doesn’t mean that more than two hours is too long for a comedy. Parts could have easily been cut without affecting the overall film, and it does stagnate a bit in stages.
While not as funny as last year’s R rated comedy blockbuster “Bridesmaids”, “The Five Year Engagement” is a consistent and likeable film that is well worth watching. Emily Blunt and Alison Brie also do a pretty great impression of Cookie Monster and Elmo, and that is definitely something you can never have too much of.