Movie Review: “The Five-Year Engagement”

By Andrew Bain

Movie Review: “The Five-Year Engagement”

If one were to find one of the few remaining Blockbuster stores, spin around and throw a stick at random, it would likely either hit or land near a film starring Jason Segel. The man just seems to be in everything, from the television show “How I Met Your Mother” to films such as “The Muppets,” “Jeff, Who Lives At Home” and now “The Five-Year Engagement.”

The premise of the movie is simple enough. Tom Solomon (Segel) and Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt) are engaged, but things keep happening to delay the marriage.

First, as somewhat of a prologue, is Violet’s sister Suzie (Alison Brie) marrying Tom’s best friend Alex (Chris Pratt). Pratt, otherwise known as Andy from “Parks and Recreation,” is the unsung hero of the movie, stealing just about every scene he enters, in hilarious fashion.

From there, Violet’s career is the main cause for delay – the couple moves to Michigan, away from San Francisco and Tom’s promising career as a chef. Violet likes it in Michigan and Tom hates it, resulting in a realistic and tense movie bound to affect any couple traversing that awkward step between settling down with each other and settling down with a career.

Segel co-wrote the screenplay for the film, and his range as a comedic actor just as capable of capturing pain and resentment is on full display. He and Blunt have excellent chemistry on screen, both are earnest in their portrayals to the point where it is impossible to know which of them – if either – is to blame for their current situation.

Though extremely well-written, “The Five-Year Engagement” can be predictable. There is, of course, the character thrown into the mix to test the integrity of Tom’s and Violet’s relationship, as well as a slightly cliche final scene.

The film also feels a bit too long, perhaps because it tries to juggle one or two too many subplots in the air over the course of the entire narrative. None of them necessarily detracts from the movie itself, but the elimination of one would have streamlined the movie a bit.

“The Five-Year Engagement” may be classified as a romantic comedy, but in reality it is rarely romantic and also sneaks some drama and sadness in with the frequently funny comedic material that courses through the entire film.

Fans of Segel’s previous work will no doubt be just as enthralled by his portrayal of Tom, and his rapport with Blunt makes the duo engrossing to watch. Though it is definitely a flawed movie, “The Five-Year Engagement” makes up for any shortcomings with its honesty, heart and ability to make audience members laugh and question life’s priorities all at the same time.

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