WRITTEN BY: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
DIRECTED BY: Nicholas Stoller
STARRING: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans
RATING: 2.5 stars
I like romantic comedies because they are usually mindless fun. The great thing about them is that they are short and easy to digest. So why would you make a romantic comedy that is more than two hours long? It defeats the purpose of what should be a quick and simple film. The Five-Year Engagement is about 30 minutes too long and, unfortunately, this makes what would otherwise be an enjoyable romantic comedy, almost a waste of time.
After dating for a year, promising chef Tom (Jason Segel) proposes to aspiring academic Violet (Emily Blunt). But when Violet gets a new job that will catapult her career, the couple move states and postpone their wedding for two years. Meanwhile, other family members get married and others pass away. Soon, other aspects of life take over before Tom and Violet realise they have delayed their wedding for five years and may have grown apart.
The first 40 minutes are relatively good and set up an interesting premise. However, the middle drama that drives a wedge in their relationship before the final resolution is just tiresome and boring. It felt like Segel and co-writer/director Nicholas Stoller came up with a bunch of short skits they thought were hilarious and decided to try to squeeze in as many as they could, while only loosely linking them to the plot.
However, for all my criticism of the film, I can't deny that there is some heart to the The Five-Year Engagement. The central theme is that no two people are 100 per cent right for each other, even if they have been happily married for years. The other message is that you should not wait for something better to come along, but seize the love right in front of you. The Five-Year Engagement actually addresses these themes in a couple of effective scenes that add some sparks to the film.
Segel and Blunt, who have been friends for years, also have good chemistry, which helps. They are well supported by predominantly television comedians Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) and Alison Brie (Community) who manage to steal every scene they are in. Australian actress Jacki Weaver also has a notable small role as Violet's mother, which should help distance her from her Animal Kingdom character for American audiences. Meanwhile, Rhys Ifans is almost unrecognisable as Violet's professor, Winton Childs, though he is not at all a likeable character.
With some stricter editing, I probably would have enjoyed The Five-Year Engagement more. If you're a fan of other Judd Apatow produced films then you will probably enjoy The Five-Year Engagement. If not, you're better off re-watching one of your favourite romantic comedies on DVD.