The Five-Year Engagement

Director: Nicholas Stroller

Starring: Jason Segal, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans.

Written by: Jason Segal and Nicholas Stroller

Running time: 124 mins

Cert: 15

Release date: 22nd June 2012

The last time actor Jason Segal worked with director Nicholas Stoller, they gave us the enormously enjoyable Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The co-writing duo are back with another unusual take on the romantic comedy with The Five-Year Engagement. However, it’s not as good as their first effort.

Tom is a sous chef for a big restaurant in San Francisco and he is madly in love with English rose Violet, the pair being together for a year. He proposes and they start planning the wedding. However, things are put on hold as Violet is offered a job at the University of Michigan. Tom, so in love with Violet, gives up everything to go with her. While she thrives, he struggles being over qualified for working in the much smaller eateries of the cold, snow-bound city. Then she is offered an extension but can Tom cope?

There are plenty of laughs but the trouble is, there aren’t enough. This is a two hour odyssey as we follow the ups and downs of this young couple and it is very noticeable. What could have been crammed into a snappy, witty film below 90 minutes is so drawn out and there seems no logical reason to either. We kind of know what will happen before we enter the cinema. If ever a film was padded out, this is it.

Don’t get me wrong, spending time with Jason Segal and Emily Blunt as Tom and Violet is more than a joyful one. They are a completely engaging, immensely likeable couple. Segal, hardly the ideal leading man, has a quality that most leading men don’t, that of being ordinary. He is a very talented writer (as proven with Sarah Marshall and, more recently, the hilarious The Muppets) and you can imagine sitting in a pub having a few beers with this guy. Emily Blunt is perfectly cast as the slightly kooky yet adorable Violet and her sense of comic timing is pretty good. There couldn’t be anything nicer that watching these two people but in a film that didn’t go on and on and on.

The supporting cast are pretty good too. Chris Pratt is fine as Tom’s oafish, slobbish friend, Alex, with his own line of offensiveness that sometimes drags the sweetness into the direction of smut, while Community’s Alison Brie gets to score comedy points as Violet’s emotional sister, Suzie, although her English accent did slip occasionally, the scene in which she and Violet have to act like The Cookie Monster and Elmo is both funny and delightful. Rhys Ifan also stars as a professor at the same University and while it is workmanlike, he isn’t given a great deal of decent material to work with. Either that or he was saving his mad professor for the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man.

Selling the film off the back of last year’s massive hit, Bridesmaids, might be the film’s downfall. Bridesmaids was an unexpected blockbuster at the box office as well as being painfully funny. This is aimed at the same market and I think that many will walk away disappointed. While the story is sweet and a perfect date film for those who don’t want Presidents seeking Vampires or deep, meaningful sci-fi, the same fans of the hit comedy won’t be belly laughing as much, which is a pity becuase it does have some terrific moments and the coupling of Segal and Blunt are a joy, just their engagement feels a lot longer than 5 years!

3/5

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