The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

22 June 2012

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The Five-Year Engagement. The director and writer/star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall reteam for the irreverent comedy The Five-Year Engagement.  Beginning where most romantic comedies end, the 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 Segel and Emily Blunt, keeps getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle.  The film was written by Segel and Stoller.

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"Exactly what you would hope for in a romantic comedy..."

Having teamed up with Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, director Nicholas Stoller has collaborated with the talented actor once again, in the upcoming comedy The Five-Year Engagement.

After a year with Violet (Emily Blunt), Tom (Segel) decides to propose to the love of his life, and with her convincing 'yes' the pair start planning for a wedding, yet work commitments mean the fairy-tale occasion may just have to be put on hold.

Firstly Violet's sister Suzie (Alison Brie) and Tom's best man Alex (Chris Pratt) get hitched which prolongs their plans, and then Violet is offered her dream job in Michigan. Tom quits his job as a chef for his fiancé, and the pair leave their San Francisco home for the somewhat colder Michigan state. However a combination of Violet's working relationship with her boss Winton (Rhys Ifans) and Tom's boredom in new job not only prolongs the date of the wedding, but puts the entire event in jeopardy.

Despite the picture’s predictability, The Five-Year Engagement is exactly what you would hope for in a romantic comedy, with more than enough in there for both men and women. Neither Violet or Tom are a singular lead role as such, and we really get an understanding of their relationship from both sides. The film also finds a wonderful balance between both the romantic and the comedic aspects, as there are a number of laugh out loud scenes (mostly featuring Brie in some stage of distress) and the relationship between Violet and Tom is touching and endearing. At times it can be quite drippy, but hey, it works.

However on a more frustrating note, the film is far too long at a little over two hours. It's an extremely simplistic narrative so there is no need whatsoever to draw this story out. They meet, they fall in love, they get engaged, then they face potential difficulties. There is nothing in that story to allow for it to last so long as it feels as though we've been on their five year journey with them. What happened to the 90 minute movie eh?

The feature’s greatest quality comes in the chemistry between Segel and Blunt, as their extremely earnest relationship matches the naturalistic qualities to this film, somewhat of a necessity given the entire film is based around their romance. Credit must also go to Stoller though, as he depicts their relationship very sincerely by using small, unique but recognisable quirks between Violet and Tom, such as an evident, and mutual, appreciation for pigs. Yet it isn't just their sincerity and love that is endearing, but their arguments too feel very believable.

The Five-Year Engagement is an easy to enjoy feature that doesn't set the world alight as such, but for its genre is just about as good as it's going to get. Stoller has found a wonderful compatibility between naturalism and cinematic surrealism making for a hugely enjoyable film. As for Segel and Blunt, you have to ask yourself if there are two more likeable and amicable actors in contemporary cinema? You just can't help but want to be their friend, and I don't care how sad that makes me sound.

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