Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller are maturing and it really shows in their latest flick, ‘The Five-Year Engagement’. Picking up right where the average rom-com would end – after the struggling couple ends up together – their new film shows what happens between the proposal and the wedding, and depicts all of the crap that a couple must wade through before getting to the “happily ever after.”
After being together for one great year, Tom (Segel) is ready to propose to Violet (Emily Blunt). At this phase in their lives, everything is nearly perfect and getting married would only be fitting. Tom is a successful cook on the fast track to becoming a full-time head chef, and Violet is a promising psychologist looking to get into a local post-grad program.
The movie opens with Tom’s awesome proposal, and frequently cuts back and forth to their first meeting. We watch them begin the wedding planning process, starting with a hilarious engagement party, but a wrench is thrown into the gears when Violet accepts a prestigious grad position thousands of miles away from their happy Bay Area lives. Tom is more than willing to support Violet in her career decision by making the move to Michigan, but this drastic transition will cause him to leave behind his own dream job, which puts his happiness and their relationship to the test.
There are many great things working for ‘The Five-Year Engagement’, but there are also a few downsides that cause it to drag. Let’s talk the positives first. Led by Segel and Blunt, the cast is great. Chris Pratt and Alison Brie are two of the fantastic and hilarious supporting cast members. Comedy is never an issue. The laughs just keep coming, but that doesn’t mean that this is just another fluffy, feel-good rom-com. If anything, it’s quite different. The drama that comes from the scenario is real, honest and, at times, kind of heavy. It’s refreshing to get this genuine feel from a studio flick that would typically follow a familiar mold.
Bogging the film down are its 124-minute runtime and a quirky sub-plot that feels like it belongs better in a “deleted scenes” section on a Blu-ray than it does in the final cut. When Tom finally gets used to the Michigan lifestyle (presumably in year three), he starts to become like one of the odd locals. This section of the movie is funny and it shows just how long they’ve been engaged, but it could easily have been trimmed, which would help the film to flow better.
Even with its flaws, I have to admit that I really liked ‘The Five-Year Engagement’. I don’t typically care for romantic comedies, but when they play out like reality and not some average fairy tale, I’m a sucker for them. This is one of the latter. If you’re in the mood for a funny and atypical romantic comedy, look no further.