Just wait for Russell Brand to ruin this chick, too.
The Five-Year Engagement is a romantic comedy following Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) as their relationship becomes strained from the continued delays of their wedding an prolonged engagement.
When you get a movie that seems like it’s going to be a mixture of something from Bridesmaids (producers), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (director), and straight-up Judd Apatow (also producer) comedy, you would think think that this would be laugh out loud funny, right? Ehhh, who knows!
Director Nick Stoller does do what he does best; and that is, keep the laughs going even when the plot seems like it’s starting to float away. There’s definitely a great sense of improv here, which is what makes this cast so damn good; but regardless of whether or not this film’s jokes were actually written, I still laughed many more times here than I did with Stoller’s last flick. Yes, I know a lot of people praise Get Him to the Greek as if it was his end-all, be-all masterpiece, but I guess I’m just not with you on that one.
I also thought that it was cool to see this premise go down and show us something about two people in love, which is something I haven’t seen much in flicks that are about a happy-happy couple such as this. The film shows what it’s like for two people to be together and less of how easy it is to love the other person for all that they are, but at the same time gets into how hard it is to be happy for that other person when they’re doing the things that they’re doing as you’re in total and complete misery. I know this isn’t anything that’s necessarily ground-breaking or inventive to talk about, especially when you talk about half of the rom-coms that have come out within the past 10 years, but it’s still a subject/theme that is done very well here, and I don’t think you see too much of that in rom-coms nowadays.
However, that theme, along with a lot of the jokes, seem to somehow get lost in the shuffle of this 2 hour and 4 minute movie. It seems like every rom-com lately has started to fall into this path where they aren’t just about being a funny, romantic movie, but they also have to have a huge deal of drama in it too, just so it can even things out. The film seems very disjointed in parts, as it was more just a bunch of sketches put together, but they were still funny enough to hold me over and get past it. But by last couple of acts where the film shows Violet and Tom’s relationship starting to crumble down, the film starts to get a bit darker and focus more on the sadness these two have away from each other, rather than focus on some cool moments of comedy. It’s actually a big downer when these two aren’t together because not only does it take a lot of steam out of the comedy, but the idea of these two being perfect for each other is uprooted as well.
Also, did I mention that it’s a 2 hour and 4 minute movie?!? Only Judd Apatow can do comedies like that people so stop trying to hop all over that skill cause it ain’t happenin’, ight? I don’t know why I started talking like that but I guess I got so much love for my homeboy Judd Apatow, I had to back him up. Anywhoo, back to what I was talking about…
Another quibble I had with this flick was that since the film shows 5 years passing, you would think that these characters would change or look a bit older in anyway, but instead, the movie feels more like it’s happening in about 5 months rather than 5 years. Tom gets a caveman beard and Violet gets bangs later on, but other than that, nothing else really changes between these characters and they all sort of just stay the same without any difference in change, look, or act. Then again, not every person in the world needs to change every single day that goes by, but 5 years is a pretty long time.
What I can say about the pairing of Emily Blunt and Jason Segel is that they both have obvious chemistry and use it well with the surprisingly slim amount of scenes they get together. Segel plays more of the straight-man role and Blunt pretty much plays his somewhat goofy, psychiatrist honey and both display a lot of fun working together on-screen, but the film shows more scenes of them apart than together. I wish the film focused more on them just hangin’ out, goofin’ off, or just simply being a loving couple, rather than just worrying they’re going to go next with their relationship and whether or not they’re going to work out. Just be happy and loving you damn kids! Even though you are both older than me!
But since a lot of these scenes are dedicated to what’s going on around these two, the film gets to show more scenes with its awesome supporting cast. Chris Pratt (who looks like Patrick Wilson, if he just got back from an all-you-can-eat buffet) is hilarious as Tom’s bro-bro and steals just about every scene he has; and I probably would have liked to see a whole film dedicated to just him and his wife, Suzie, aka Violet’s sister, aka the hilarious and very sexy Alison Brie. Rhys Ifans is pretty slimy but good as Violet’s charismatic supervisor, Winton Childs. And there are so many others here that are worth mentioning but it’s really just such a huge supporting cast that it’s really hard to name them all.
Consensus: The tone may be a disjointed, the laughs may not be constant, and the run-time may be about 30 minutes too long, but The Five-Year Engagement still entertains enough with it’s very funny laughs, and it’s charming leads, that are backed by an amazing supporting cast that steals the scenes almost every chance they get.
Looking forward to seeing this – big fan of Jason Segel and Alison Brie! Probably end up seeing it when it rolls around to the small screen though. Over 2 hours seems a bit much. I miss my 90 minute comedies.
It’s a little too long for it’s own good and ever since Apatow burst onto the scene, it’s been like that way ever since. Thanks Jaina!
I realize I might have enjoyed the movie more than most, but I definitely think it would have been improved with better editing and cutting a good 20 minutes from it. The supporting cast made the movie for me. Good review, Dan.
The supporting cast was awesome and definitely made this flick so much funnier. Thanks Erik!
I don’t understand why comedies are trying to go over the 2 hour mark. I can understand for story reasons but do they have to drag things out. That’s one of the few things why I didn’t enjoy Bridesmaids though I thought it was a good film. I felt it needed more trimming as some scenes dragged a bit and there were a few characters that I felt should’ve been cut out of the film.
That’s what I thought too! Good movie, but needed to be trimmed like my hair during the summer.
It seems as if we had pretty similar takes on the movie. Loved the supporting cast, especially Chris Pratt and Alison Brie. They definitely stole the movie. It’s unfortunate that the movie is only two hours but feels so much longer when a lot of it could be cut. Great review yet again.
p.s. Thanks for posting on my review as well!
No problemo Paul! Definitely needed some trimming and could have been a lot shorter for comedy purposes.
Good review, Dan. A lot of astute points about the complexities of a real-life relationship, as well as pointing out the negatives about the film’s length.
Also, Sarah and I always appreciate your comments on our blog. We work really hard on it together and appreciate a fellow blogger’s support!
I loved this movie as I wrote in my blog on way home from it. I didn’t find it too long at all and for me told a complete story; comedy and romance in good measure. Agreed Chris Pratt was great in supporting as was David Paymer as Segel’s dad. Segel is just so totally likeable on screen.
Great review! Completely agree – the parts that were funny, were funny as hell. But the parts that weren’t, were so depressing and longgg! Chris Pratt and Alison Brie made the entire movie for me, and I really kinda hope someone thinks to do a spin-off movie with their characters – a la Get Him To The Greek but way better. Because, like you, I was not that impressed with Get Him To The Greek at all… I think I laughed twice the entire movie.