Release Date: June 22nd 2012
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Rhys Ifans, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie
Running time: 124 mins
I had high hopes on this. Essentially a mix of what usually tickles my funny bone. In The Five Year Engagement, you anticipate rib rupturing sex comedy, but walk out feeling a bit like a sneaky disguised drama.
The engagement happens immediately, when loveable chef Tom (Segel) nervously tries to hide his intent to propose to his gal of one year Violet (Blunt). Cover is blown, and we get to meet Alex (Pratt) who is the guy that everyone will remember from this film. Roll on into the expected cute segments leading to happy ever after.
Shocker, there’s another Segal ass shot, and Blunt is adorable. Cue the expected engagement party in which we meet some other gems of the supporting cast: Violet’s sis Suzie (Brie), the typical parents and a hilarious scene featuring Pratt and a projector. It’s not all laughs as eventually we see Violet struggle with not being employed in her dream job. Here’s our first delay on the trip to the alter folks. Violet does end up finding work; however it’s in tropical Michigan. Why not, what’s to loose!
Moving from beautiful San Francisco to the Midwest’s barren tundra ends up being a ill fit. Tom’s miserable and Violet seems to be excelling under the guidance of a wise faculty advisor, Winton (Ifans). So begins the slow slide of reality into ruining all the best laid plans. Tom has zero luck finding a culinary outlet worthy of his skill. He’s slowly becoming a “faculty spouse” and finds a creepy efficiency in hunting, making mead, and becoming a total grizzly of a man.
Frankly, the movie is too long. I know it’s a story of a way-too-long couple, and that there was a lot of story to tell. I just think a heavy handed edit would have favoured this film much better. The excellent comedic hits are in there, and when they snap it’s pretty much perfection. The performances are good, with exceptional attention for the supports. In addition to the mains on display, we also get a snappy Mindy Kaling, a brief Chris Parnell, an epically hilarious Brian Posehen, and a restrained Kevin Hart.
We do get some physical comedy treats, and the interplay between Segal and Pratt is hilarious. Blunt also proves her worth with a mean Cookie Monster impression. I found I got tired of Blunt and Segel together, long before I got tired of seeing Posehen make another awkward situation. Is it a waste of money? No. You’ll find something to like.
I loved the Van Morrison covers dotted throughout our cinema experience. There is comedy gold in here, as well as situations everyone will relate to personally. Will you feel a bit confused? Yes. The film can’t quite decide what vein it’s going to run in and resists classification. It seems a bit thick in the latter half.
Does the anticipation pay off? That’s for you to decide.