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There are risks when romantic comedy is injected with "truth." Too
little, and it feels like a desperate attempt to give the film
credibility. Too much and it starts to feel uncomfortable as the comedy
is buried in what appear to be a string of life lessons. The Five-Year
Engagement tries to find a balance between comedy and truth and after a
bit over two hours, almost succeeds.
That's not to say the film is bad. It's far from it, especially compared to what usually passes for a romantic comedy these days. Its leads (Emily Blunt and Jason Segel) have a surprising, easy chemistry and director Nicholas Stoller (who co-wrote with Segel) uses the talented supporting cast to add new perspective and layers to what is a pretty straightforward story.
Violet (Blunt) is a post-doctorate student. Tom (Segel) is a rising star of a chef in San Francisco. They get engaged on their first anniversary and while most romantic comedies would end here, The Five-Year Engagement does something that romantic comedies fail to do - showing what happens after the "happy ending." In doing so, we get to see every crack, seam and bump in their relationship, from Tom's resentment at leaving his dream job behind to follow Violet after she receives a fellowship at the University of Michigan, to Violet's increasing frustration at how Tom changes during his relocation.
It's a credit to Segel and Stoller that the situations that arise do so organically and don't feel forced in for shock value, and when things start to deteroriate, we not only see it coming, we solemnly nod because it is inevitable.
The film has issues, though, and they almost capsize the film. The most glaring one is the running time. The film clocks in at a bit over two hours, and you feel every grueling minute of it. The pacing and editing are a near disaster and at times, watching feels more like a chore than a good time. This is partially because the film, while billed as a romantic comedy, is only funny in spurts. The serious 'truths' of being in a relationship take center stage, which is in itself not a bad thing, but in a comedy, it really drags the film down.
The ending is typical rom-com schmaltz, though, as if the filmmakers snapped out of their malaise, thought "hey, aren't we making a comedy?" and wisely ended the film on an acceptably quirky note.
In the end, The Five-Year Engagement is serviceable entertainment, but could have been a lot more had they been able to strike the delicate balance they were trying for.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Everyone involved in this movie is so much better than this. I'm kind
of embarrassed for all of them. Did we need a whole movie about how
awful it is to be engaged to a gorgeous, funny, intelligent woman that
you make sacrifices for? I just don't understand the point of it. The
leads were cute enough together, but it didn't feel like a real
relationship. The peaks and troughs were all so contrived and
predictable. And all the "comedy" hinged on genitals, dead
grandparents, Andy from Parks & Rec except inexplicably successful, and
an Asian man with a thick accent. Really? It's 2012, guys. That stuff
Allison Brie was fantastic, though.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I switched this film off after thirty minutes, because in all that time
I did not laugh or even smile and had started to feel a bit ill at the
dangerously pathetic attempts at humour.
I like Jason Segel but Emily Blunt does nothing for me - she is just quite dull and irritating. However, even Jason Segel could not save this embarrassing train-wreck of a film.
Just don't bother. If you do you will very quickly regret it when you see an engagement party with some sad powerpoint presentation of Segel's exes, with an accompanying song. Yes, because that is both believable AND hilarious!I was on an eight-hour flight and I preferred to switch this off and stare out of the window. That should tell you everything.
Enjoyable funny movie that portrayed the modern day conflict of a
couple with two careers. Who gives up what and why and how willing are
they to accept the true full meaning of the compromise. Several good
points are made and good analogies used.
Humor works for both guys and gals.
Without spoiling anything, the element used to mark time is somewhat dark.
Be familiar with the song 'Cu cu ru cu cu Palamo'. It is sung very well in Spanish early in the course of the movie with no translation but is tone setting for the movie. Used again in the credits.
At just over 2 hours, this movie seemed to drag at some points and several scenes could have been edited down a wee bit. Don't need to see something for 30 seconds or 2 minutes when the point is made and understood in considerably less time.
I don't see any academy nods for this one nor would I have expected any for this genre of movie but it was an enjoyable movie for an evening.
My wife and son were there and enjoyed it as well.
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
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)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of the all time worst films I have ever seen. I am surprised that theater goers aren't demanding their money back (it really was that bad). Shame on you Nicholas Stoller for your lack of direction -- the film was all over the place. I am amazed that Judd Apatow did not take his name of this one -- it's a real stinker! Great cast, beautiful locations -- no excuse. With all of the great scripts that can't get funding, what genius gave this poor attempt at comedy the green light??!!! No wonder the theater was empty! In addition to the bad directing, editing and writing, the film was almost two and a half hours! It was painful to sit through.
a lot of these reviews are saying this movie is bad or disappointing, but honestly its the first movie in a long time that i could relate to. another aspect i love is the dialogue, it doesn't take itself too seriously and has real life comedy, instead of trying to be a huge blockbuster. many think thats a bad thing, but why would you want to see another Hollywood dramatized cheesy romantic comedy?! its clearly underrated, jason segal and chris pratt fans should love this movie thoroughly. the only thing that i wasn't a huge fan of was the British accents, seems forced at first but the movie is so long that by the end it all comes together and warms your soul. if you've ever had to move away because of some girl, you should see this, very relatable comedy, that's all.
Alas, this is another example of a movie with some possibility it has a plot, decent casting and acting, some humor but it still manages to leave the viewer, for the most part, having fallen into the pit of displeasure. Once again the writers have chosen to forgo sparkling dialog, or even intelligent dialog, in favor of the gratuitous foul language and blatant sex. Such a waste. Makes me wonder if today's screenwriters opt to cop out on creativity on purpose. Or - have they no imagination? Do they assume the theater audience has none? Trust me, a few things left to the imagination can be far sexier,and probably funnier and entertaining than the in-your-face stuff. And tossing the F word around like confetti at Mardi Gras is boring. Maybe this actually does indicate a severe lack of talent on the parts of the writers/producers. Or could it be that movies like this, that have their moments, but not enough of them, are produced for the soul purpose of making the good movies look even better. Just a thought.
While the movie started strong and quickly reached the first set of
wedding delays, once the characters moved to Michigan, things bogged
down quickly. Without spoiling the movie, the antics in the Wolverine
State were more like bad SNL skits than part of this movie.
The characters, both primary and secondary, were very likable and were also very well developed. Some of the fringe characters (I talking to you, Dakota!) tended to be overly done and one-note. They could have been scaled back to fit their place in the movie thus adding to rather than subtracting from the story. (Math in a movie review? Who would have guessed?) Tom's job hunt problems seemed to be oriented toward setting up jokes than based in reality. A man with his background would have landed a position in Ann Arbor in a New York minute. However, Violet's drama was much better written and more believable.
Once back in San Francisco, everything picked up again and you began rooting for the home team to finally make it to the goal line.
So go enjoy the beginning and end but be ready to take a 30-minute nap in the middle. Maybe the Director's Cut with actually cut out the boring parts. One can hope.
This picture is being sold as a comedy...however it is more like a
drama with some comedic elements...and those few comedic moments aren't
really that funny. The movie examines with a cynical eye a relationship
that the director wants to present as a real loving one. However,
anyone in the audience can see that this relationship has problems. The
female lead is an annoying selfish character while the male character
is wimpy and feels sorry for himself.
The movie is extremely self indulgent...it was written by the director and by the star. I don't think they wanted to leave any scenes out. The movie meanders for over two hours. It could have easily been a 90 minute film.
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