The Five-Year Engagement

30 Nov

five year engagement

 

 

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Writers: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller

Stars: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt and Chris Pratt

Motion Picture Rating: 15

Runtime: 124 minutes

 

In film-making they say that luckily there is always room for horror films and rom-com’s. That’s lucky because both genres are low cost to make and easy to market. It’s no coincidence that we are bombarded by both whilst deprived of more intellectually challenging fare. It’s not to say that horror films and rom-com’s can’t be good – see my reviews of Kill List and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen for nice examples – it’s just that in the main they are poor. And any rom-com featuring Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson and / or Matthew McConaughey are actually far worse.

With The Five-Year Engagement we have a high concept rom-com. Talk about easy to market – it’s all there in the title…Anyhow, this one features Jason Segel (also a co-writer and producer) as Tom and Emily Blunt as Violet. They meet cute, date for a year, get engaged and then struggle to get down the aisle. Her PHD studies in psychology force them to move from San Francisco to Michigan where she thrives, but he struggles having given up a top chef’s job back on the bay for work in a sandwich bar in the mid-west. Violet blooms via her studies whilst Tom regresses and becomes a bit of a hick (long side burns, drinking in the morning, deer hunting etc.)

This film starts with a track by Dexys Midnight Runners so it’s off to a flyer in my book. The couple’s meet cute is nicely done and also matched by the funny engagement scene. Thereafter you root for what is a believable and amusing couple – Segel is very good in a lot of comedies and Blunt is great in everything (again see Salmon Fishing). Around the pair are some excellent cameos, especially Mad Men’s Alison Brie as Violet’s sister, and there are a number of good recurring jokes. It is genuinely funny and perceptive stuff. It runs slightly too long and it pushes the core “pick a cookie and take a bite” message a bit too hard at times, but overall it’s rather charming.

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