Saturday, April 28, 2012


Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
Directed by Nicholas Stoller
Starring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt and Alison Brie

Susie Barnes: You know I don’t believe in kids and marriage and shit but when I see the two of you together, I get what the whole situation is about.

A comedy called THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT promises a cute couple who will inevitably run into a number of obstacles on their way to the alter. You half expect disasters with the florist, catastrophes with the caterer and unexpected happenings to happen just in time to postpone the wedding a little while longer. Instead, what you get in the Nicholas Stoller (FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, GET HIM TO THE GREEK) version of this movie, is one where only one thing gets in the way of the titular engagement becoming a wedding - life. And this particular life is likely a lot more real than you would ever guess.

Tom and Violet (Jason Segel and Emily Blunt) are absolutely adorable with each other on screen. They met on New Year’s Eve at a costumed superhero party of sorts and then are engaged a year later on the same night. He is a promising sous-chef on the hot San Francisco restaurant scene and she is a bright academic, who is awaiting placement at a prominent San Francisco university to pursue her doctorate. They are the envy of their friends and family and why shouldn’t they be? They have the real deal, the kind of love that is increasingly only found in the movies. Segel and Blunt make you believe you can still find a love like this in real life even in today’s cynical times and this is partly thanks to all the real life garbage that these two get dealt that derails their wedding plans. Trouble with the seating arrangement is one thing; figuring out how to compromise in a relationship so that both parties are happy with their lives, now that’s a whole other trick to master.

The hard times Tom and Violet go through on their way to their wedding make THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT a much more sombre comedy than one would expect. Still, when its funny, it is uproarious. It’s hard not to be with such an incredibly strong supporting cast, from Chris Pratt and Alison Brie, as the disastrous counter couple to Tom and Violet, who seem to get everything right without even trying, to recent Oscar nominee, Jacki Weaver, as the driest of future mother-in-law’s that there ever was. Director, Stoller, along with his writing partner, Segel, continue to prove that they can find great laughs in some of life’s more sobering experiences. And in doing so here, they prove how little significance a wedding truly has when weighed against the marriage itself.

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