The Five-Year Engagement Movie Review
Tracking a young couples love through their unforeseen long engagement, THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT is a delightful comedy mixed with an uncomfortable drama.
Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) start out great as a couple everyone hopes to be (other than my wife and I who are perfect). But when Violet gets offered her dream job as a graduate research assistant at University of Michigan, the two decide to put their wedding on hold and move from sunny San Francisco to icy Ann Arbor. Unfortunately Tom has trouble adapting, as he can’t seem to find a chef job he isn’t over qualified for. Slowly spiraling into a complacent depression, Tom goes from clean-cut top chef to a Fu Manchu wearing sandwich-maker. Tom’s unhappiness and Violet’s uncompromising attitude toward her job put a strain on the relationship to a breaking point.
THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT begins charming enough with a very believable couple in love. Tom’s attempt to propose to Violet doesn’t go as planned but that doesn’t matter because they are both good people madly in love with each other that can roll with the punches. I believe most couples are like this so it’s nice to see a film where the relationship is not hurt by little inconveniences and the two are there to support each other despite the unforeseen delays to their wedding.
The problem comes with the consistency of this effort. After Tom compromises for Violet, she doesn’t reciprocate the good nature for the supposed man she loves after agreeing to only spend a specific amount of time at her new found job. I’m not saying that response is improbable. I’m saying for the characters they set up, the action is unlikely. Then coupled with some unwelcomed advances from Violet’s boss (Rhys Ifans), which dominos into a tired unfaithful story line, Violet becomes a less likeable character.
However, much credit belongs to Emily Blunt (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU) because while most of her work story line falls flat bringing the film to an abrupt halt, she is likable. Her sense of humor and timing all create an adorable strong person that we can get behind despite the some of the unfortunate poor writing painting her into an inferior female character. That goes for Jason Segel (FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, THE MUPPETS) as well who is quickly becoming one of my favorite comedic actors. As always he is sympathetic and funny bringing out the best in every character he plays. Without these two actors, I don’t believe THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT would work.
The rest of the supporting cast garners their own amount of laughs as well. Especially Chis Pratt as Tom’s best friend and Alison Brie as Violet’s sister, who are able to get laughs every time they are on screen. You might recognize Pratt from PARKS AND RECREATION and Brie from COMMUNITY. Both shows are arguably the two funniest on television currently, so it’s no wonder the two stars were able to translate to the big screen.
Going from funny to drama then coming back to funny is a tough formula to pull off. THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT succeeded in its comedy but fell into easy and familiar traps with the drama. Feeling every bit of its five years, THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT seemed much longer than its already lengthy running time of 124 minutes. While I did laugh quite a bit, I don’t find any need for a repeat viewing of THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT.