Bumpy patches are what engaged couple Violet and Tom go through and it is also what I experienced as a watcher of the Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) film, The Five-Year Engagement. I found the film quite uneven. Head scratchingly (I love making up words as you can tell) so. Some parts were quite funny and then others were just perplexing. I would find myself laughing out loud and then with the very next scene feeling like I was watching another film as it didn’t fit in whatsoever. Made for a very bipolar movie watching experience.
The screenplay was written by Stoller and lead actor Jason Segel. It is a story of a couple whose attempts at getting down the aisle keep getting sidetracked. Mostly by Violet (Emily Blunt – The Young Victoria, The Devil Wears Prada) to be fair. As she is the one who gets an offer to do her post doc at the University of Michigan and Tom (Jason Segel – I Love You, Man, Knocked Up), being the dutiful boyfriend, basically gives up his career as a chef in a good restaurant in San Francisco to move across the country with her. It is supposed to be for a couple of years but it keeps getting extended and Tom insists on keeping silent even though he is not happy.
There is a good or at least an interesting premise behind The Five-Year Engagement, two really likable leads in Blunt and Segel and plenty of well-known comedic actors like Mindy Kaling (The Office), Kevin Hart (Along Came Polly, Fool’s Gold), Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live), Brian Posehn (The Sarah Silverman Program), Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men), and Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live). Somehow the result does not equal the parts.
Romantic comedies have been put through the ringer a lot lately. Not for bad reasons either. Most of the backlash has been due to the abhorrent quality of most of them. This one looked like it was going to be a little different. While still focusing on the humour, The Five-Year Engagement seemed like it was also going to be an earnest look at the intricacies of relationships. It was willing to examine what romantic comedies don’t usually. It was taking a look at how tricky relationships are and especially the time in between the proposal and the walk down the aisle. Made me go hmmm…
I felt the film dragged on a little. It was a little bloated and long. I felt at times like I had been watching the film for five years. This was made worse by the feeling that some scenes seemed quite excessive and pointless. Like they were just thrown in. Maybe though it was just the juxtaposition of the cerebral with the slapstick humour that make it awkward. Ends up being one of those films that you really want to like more than you actually do.