Pete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they're on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart.
Devastated Peter takes a Hawaii vacation in order to deal with recent break-up with his TV star girlfriend, Sarah. Little does he know Sarah's traveling to the same resort as her ex ... and she's bringing along her new boyfriend.
Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.
Iris invites her friend Jack to stay at her family's island getaway after the death of his brother. At their remote cabin, Jack's drunken encounter with Hannah, Iris' sister, kicks off a revealing stretch of days.
Friendless Peter Klaven goes on a series of man-dates to find a Best Man for his wedding. But when his insta-bond with his new B.F.F. puts a strain on his relationship with his fiancée, can the trio learn to live happily ever after?
In San Francisco, after a year's relationship, Tom proposes to Violet; she accepts. She's an experimental psychologist, hoping for a post-doc at Cal. He's a sous chef who runs the kitchen when the chef is away. When Cal falls through and she gets an offer in Ann Arbor, Tom agrees to support the move, turning down a job as chef at a new restaurant. The move requires postponing the wedding. At Michigan, Violet is in her element, but Tom is underemployed and frustrated; he's Stoic for a while, but when two years in Michigan become four, Tom's frustrations boil over, and on the eve of yet another wedding date, they must make a choice. Is there any other alternative? Written by
Zingerman's, the restaurant where Tom works after moving to Michigan, is a real delicatessen in Ann Arbor that first opened in 1982. See more »
When Tom is cake tasting, the very first shot shows the Tiffany-box cake already part eaten, then in the next few shots it disappears until the lady brings a fresh Tiffany-box cake to the table. See more »
Where are you going?
Uh... On my way to University of North Dakota.
Oh! Well, that's good.
Yeah. No, no, it's great. I'm excited. I'ma be a pioneer. I'll be the first black guy to freeze to death. It's gonna be cool. Yeah, I'm pumped up about it.
Yeah. It's just like that song, y'know. I get knocked down, except I get up again in North Dakota, which is the worst place on Earth.
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It's the underlying allusions to psychological analysis that stand out when the wit is weak.
No groundbreaking ideas or themes are presented in The Five-Year Engagement, but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining. Spurts of slapstick, a dash of vulgar humor, generous helpings of uncomfortable awkwardness, and a pinch of melodrama seasons the film with a cross of genres and unexpected laughs. Although moments of sudden darkness cloud the generally light-hearted mood, the greatest achievement for writer/star Jason Segel and writer/director Nicholas Stoller is that the characters are never despicable and retain a likability that typically shirks away from roles designed to have dramatic, dynamic ups and downs.
Tom Solomon (Jason Segel) and Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt) are madly in love. Despite a repeatedly botched proposal, they are destined to be wed. But what starts as a short engagement with immediate marriage planning eventually gets stretched into a couple of years. The lovers decide to move away from Tom's successful sous-chef job in San Francisco so that Violet can pursue a psychology career at the University of Michigan. Head professor Winton Childs (Rhys Ifans) manages to extend Violet's position there, spreading the engagement into a five-year stretch that weighs heavily on Tom's contentment and Violet's ability to handle his perceived lack of success in the new environment.
With most of Segel's comedies, embarrassing situations and an inescapable level of coarseness replace genuine creative humor. This film is no exception, frequently using sexual jokes, carnal activities, venereal insinuations, and Segel's own seemingly contractually obligated nudity to fuel the hilarity. The dialogue supports this brand of badinage, although fortunately it's the underlying allusions to psychological analysis that stand out when the wit is weak. Commentary on the different ways men and women cope with problems is particularly intuitive. Also, one of Violet's focuses in the psychology department is to conduct an experiment in which subjects fill out forms about their personal stresses. They are then observed either eating stale donuts, or waiting for fresh ones to arrive, after being falsely informed that such new refreshments would be provided. She determines that people with troubled pasts are more likely to snag an old donut than those without turmoil in their lives. Throughout the film, occasionally quite blatantly, the notion that Tom and Violet's relationship correlates to the donut experiment arises. Indeed, many of the relationships depicted in the movie are representative of wanting something new or being content with something that is imperfect yet satisfying in the moment.
The conclusion wraps up all the dilemmas too neatly, utilizing contrived methods of repairing debacles and adding nonsensical solutions of pure fantasy. It's still affable in production despite the strict adherence to the romantic comedy formula, never betraying the sense of general decency about the characters (even the love triangle is broken up without the antagonist resorting to anything unusually cruel). The supporting roles of Chris Pratt as moronic buddy Alex, Alison Brie as crybaby sister Suzie, Chris Parnell as a stay-at-home dad/devoted hunter, and Brian Posehn as a candidly foul-mouthed deli employee are largely more memorable than the leads (although Blunt is always watchable). A scene in which Blunt and Brie converse while imitating Cookie Monster and Elmo, respectively, is impressively silly and probably the most unforgettable skit. Suzie essentially sums up the familiar joviality of The Five-Year Engagement when pep-talking Violet into showing some enthusiasm: "This is your wedding! You only get a few of these." - The Massie Twins (GoneWithTheTwins.com)
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