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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.
I am always leery of actors who want to take more control of their
careers by either writing, directing or producing movies. It is
painfully obvious Jason Segel is more suited to be given lines and
directed than to try to write his own scripts. This fell into the same
category as American Pie and had the same mean spiritedness as The
Breakup." It was just a train wreck from jump street.
What I also found offensive was the buffoonery of the supporting cast. He is supposed to be some up and coming chef working in a high end restaurant in San Francisco where is co-worker, mind you simulates masturbation with a carrot replete with a facial money shot in an exhibition kitchen. How do you spell FAIL? His chef is depicted as some crazy lesbian who is nothing but unhinged and the whole thing was frustrating to watch since I've been in the industry for over 25 years.
They depict these two as great communicators deeply in love but for the life of them cannot work out their futures together and as stereotypes in Hollywood go, Segel then proceeds to fall completely apart now becoming a rabid hunter coupled with really bad ironic facial hair. We almost turned this horrid thing off it weren't for the voyeur in us try to see the movie could get any worse. It did. The two scenes Segel actually uses the knife is to basically butcher the living hell out of onions. Ugh.
Laughs were to a minimum and crass and unrealistic gags were never ending. I didn't buy the genuine connection between the two that the writers were trying to create and frankly,I want my $5.99 back from Comcast. What a complete waste of money.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I tried to make a list of movies which I laughed at less than
Universal's newest release, "The Five-Year Engagement," and could only
think of two: "Observe and Report" and "The Passion Of the Christ."
Films I found much funnier include, "The Love Guru," "Duece Bigalow: American Gigalo," "All About Steve" and "Platoon." That does not surprise, however, since this picture was directed by Nicholas Stoller (who has helmed two of the worst "comedies" of all-time, "Get Him To the Greek" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall").
With a cast that features Jason Segel ("The Muppets," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "How I Met Your Mother" TV series, who also co-wrote with Stoller), Emily Blunt ("Salmon Fishing In the Yemen," "The Devil Wears Prada"), Chris Pratt ("Moneyball," "Parks and Recreation" TV series), Alison Brie ("Scream 4," "Mad Men" TV series) and David Paymer ("Quiz Show," an Academy Award nominee for "Mr. Saturday Night"), there is - sadly - not one funny moment or humorous situation.
And, at two-plus hours, this monstrosity drags like a bloated beached grey whale, with no pacing, direction or intriguing plot line to hold any interest whatsoever.
The story has sous chef, Tom Solomon (Segel), meeting Violet Barnes (Blunt) at a "super hero" costume party in San Francisco. He's a pink bunny and she's Princess Diana (for SOME reason). A year later, he proposes, but a series of contrived events take place to postpone the nuptials.
She then gets a job in the psychology department at the University of Michigan, so he gives up his job to travel to Ann Arbor with her. While there, she meets another group of depressing, humor-impaired colleagues, including Kevin Hart ("Fool's Gold" - notice the pattern here of these actors appearing in terrible comedies?), Mindy Kaling ("The Office" TV series) and Randall Park ("Larry Crowne").
Meanwhile, he struggles to find work, finally getting a job making sandwiches at a greasy spoon diner. As she rises in the eyes of her professor, the irritating Brit Winton Childs (Rhys Ifans, "Nanny McPhee Returns" *sigh*), Tom turns into Grizzly Adams, growing a ridiculous beard, making his own mead and killing his own food.
The film then lurches from "cerebreal" comedy to a romantic drama as the two fall out, have short flings with other people (Tom is smeared with potato salad and nearly raped by a co-worker) and separate.
Then just as quickly, the movies introduces some wild slapstick in which Violet gets shot with an arrow and slammed with a car door; while Tom wanders out on a freezing night, suffers frostbite and loses a toe (this is supposed to be laugh-inducing?!). Other "hilarious" moments in this enterprise are supposed to be the funerals of various grandparents who died waiting for this marriage to take place. Pardon my belly laughs.
While Violet moves in with Winton, Tom begins dating a younger woman who seems to be insatiable in bed. In fact, the soft-core porn scenes here are so monotonous (showing intercourse from ever possible angle while she screams, "Faster Tom, faster!") that the sex becomes unbelievably annoying and makes one wish for the passion and lucidity of a 1970s porno flick.
What will happen to the star-crossed lovers? If you're like me, you will not care one bit, since all they seem to do is bicker and have absolutely no chemistry, anyway. There also is not one likable or even redeeming character here.
Even Tom's best friend, Alex (Pratt), and Violet's sister, Suzi (Brie), who hook up after she is impregnated on a one-night stand, are so shallow and badly-written as to induce a malaise of immense proportion.
And Segel, who helped bring the Muppets back to the big screen (an effort I have praised), is the worst culprit of all, as his Tom is basically one of the biggest jerks in recent comedy history, yet despite his aggressive repulsiveness, Violet cries (several times during the proceedings), "I love you, so much, I love you so much."
Love is an emotion few will feel about "The Five-Year Engagement," which is about the length of time one will believe they have actually spent watching this claptrap.
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