Friday, April 27, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement: Movie Review

 

Dragging out a romantic comedy with some hilarity and heart but a lot of bad jokes.

“The Five-Year Engagement” has one of those titles where no other explanations are necessary. It’s a romantic comedy, obviously. They fall in and out of love, obviously. And it’s way too long. I’m not sure why Hollywood hasn’t figured out that romantic comedies do not need to be more than two hours long. We know the formula, trust us. 2012

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller

Screenplay by: Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel

Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt

Where this one differs is that it is supposed to be male-driven. Produced by Judd Apatow, directed and written by Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel, it’s their four-year follow-up to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”. I didn’t expect their writing to get worse, at least in terms of story and comedy. “The Five-Year Engagement” follows the note-by-note, standard rom-com trajectory, and the biggest problem was that it wasn’t funny when it was supposed to be. The obligatory cold weather jokes, penis jokes and the penis and cold weather jokes wore thin very quickly. I knew most of the jokes they were going to make well in advance of when they would actually deliver them.

But something surprising happened within the second hour of the movie. Instead of laughing, I was crying. When the lead couple dropped the act and became real people and the film turned serious and tender, it became a very touching experience. I actually wanted things to work out for Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt).

Caring about Tom and Violet’s relationship obviously won’t be enough for everyone to get through the film (although I’m assuming those people were the ones that were laughing the entire time). What everyone can agree on is who the stand-outs were: Chris Pratt as Tom’s best friend, Alex, and Alison Brie as Violet’s sister, Suzie. They were absolutely hilarious and way more talented than they have been credited for thus far in their careers. Brie’s English accent was jarring but her delivery of pretty much every line she said made it worth it.

Unfortunately, the movie is not called “Alex and Suzie” (do I smell a sequel though?) and “The Five-Year Engagement” became a very tiresome affair with not enough comedy to balance out the well written lows.


Recommended:

Friends with Kids (2011) - Authenticity and maturity to a dramatic romantic comedy.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) - Putting real characters in a romantic comedy and making it really funny.