The Five-Year Engagement Movie Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

The Five-Year Engagement

    Reviewed by Damien Straker on May 13th, 2012
    Universal
presents a film directed by Nicholas Stoller
    Screenplay by Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel
    Starring:
Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Jackie
    Weaver and Rhys Ifans

    Running Time:
120 mins
    Rating: MA
    Released: May 3rd, 2012


5/10

 

 

Tom (Jason Segel) is a San Francisco chef who successfully proposes to his girlfriend Violet (Emily Blunt) but their plans to marry one another are continually offset. Violet's sister Suzie (Alison Brie) falls pregnant to Tom's dopey friend Alex (Chris Pratt) and they decide to quickly wed each other. Violent is also pressured by her mother Sylvia (Jackie Weaver), who is concerned that her daughter will not marry before all her relatives die. Tom and Violet's plans are further disrupted when she, as a PHD graduate in psychology, accepts a position at the University of Michigan. She's happy to be able to study under the charismatic watch of Professor Winston Childs (Rhys Ifans) but Tom hates it because it's freezing cold and the move ensures that he has to give up an important cooking job. He's forced to try and find work in a sandwich shop with some unusual company.


The Five-Year Engagement has some big early laughs and a relatable premise but it never recovers from a poor midsection. If anything the film confirms for a number of reasons that Jason Segel, who co-wrote the film with the director Nicholas Stoller, is too generous as a screenwriter. Once Tom and Violet arrive in Michigan and find themselves divided by their professions, Blunt has by far the more interesting portion of the narrative. One of Violet's case studies involves an experiment with donuts that lends itself to an interesting and intelligent thematic question. It asks whether someone would take the first thing they have in front of them or whether they would reward their patience with the potential for something more substantial. It is a clever way of mimicking the predicament faced by the characters in the film itself, as they latch onto relationships and opportunities with varying outcomes. However, the lack of direction in Segel's thread is damaging to the story. Segel has nice chemistry with Blunt, in part because of her own continually endearing presence, but away from her he's hopelessly outplayed by a number of side characters who are far livelier than the prosaic hangdog expressions he offers. It is also difficult to film a mode of stasis, like the one Tom finds himself in, without the story disappearing into that concept itself. Thus, when he is unable to assert himself in the restaurant game Tom is left to strange activities, like hunting the woods, leaving the story by the wayside. The pacing stalls terribly around the midpoint with unnecessary scenes and a running time of just on two hours long. All of this is disappointing because the film has moments of pleasure. The early scenes are some of the funniest, including a clever opening where Tom and Violet have to play out the surprise proposal, even though she already knows about the arrangement. It's a smart scene because it parodies and plays with a lot of the clichés of the romantic comedy genre in ways that we recognise. There are pockets of funny lines too but the dialogue also becomes unnecessarily smutty and tiresome, if only to appeal to the male demographic unconcerned with proposals and wedding plans. If the script had been tighter and refused to resort to predictability and crassness it would have fulfilled a promising movie. It does include Emily Blunt after all.






 
 



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