The Five Year Engagement Review
Jason Segel and Nicholas Stroller reunite as the dynamic duo of writers for this romantic comedy, The Five Year Engagement. After Segel and Stroller introduced us their version of The Muppets not too long ago and the hilarious Yes Man (Stroller only), this new addition to their work wears off easy and tries to engage a new type of audience to their work, but with fewer laughs and a heftier plotline.
The Five Year Engagement tells the story of Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) who, exactly one year after they first met, Tom goofily tries to pop the question, in which is one of the most adorable scene. Their plans changing while they prepare for their wedding, Violet gets offered to work at the Michigan University in the social studies department. Being her dream job, Tom decides to make her happy and by deciding to both move to Michigan, they both put the wedding on hold.
This opportunity to work with people studying psychological effects and social interaction of people make Violet observe her relationship with Tom on a different prospective. On his side, Tom, had to give up his dream job as a chef and settle for a fun and breezy profession in a sandwich store and made his ego drop down a few levels. Both of them grow more and more apart while we observe their concessions to one another building a bigger obstacle wall in their relationship. Defining the thin line of what a steady and happy relationship and one self-deprecation in terms of making the other happy is.
The Five Year Engagement starts in a fun-fast pace and delivers a lot of good moments that will make you appreciate the good talent gathered here. Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men), playing Violet’s sister, makes the worst British accent to impersonate her role in the most “authentic” way is easily forgiven when her jokes start rolling off for being the obvious comic-relief. After the story starts shaping itself and starts unraveling heavier plot points, Engagement starts being weary.
Engagement, being a Judd Apatow production, easily connects with the habitual fans, but the usual raunchy comedy aspect of the material start being more apart and the jokes too dispersed, the movie unfortunately loses its charm after less than half of it.
Engagement has some serious pacing issues and the whole concept feels disjointed. What started as focusing on Tom and Violet’s relationship turned into a social and modern study of a long-running couple whose life decisions became issues and disrupted their living situation. This movie feels more like an analysis and definition of “real-life vs. movies” using clever in-scenes analogies and exploring the characters’ selfish motives and need to succeed in life. This aspect brought the movie a lot of credit and heart-felt moments, but felt too declined with the initial plot-line.
A lot of the gags in Engagement felt awkward and unrealistic by the second act and out of the touch with the characters we see gradually changing throughout their story. With the mood of the movie dropping down tremendously, it caused Engagement to drag itself to the final act with few puns left to offer.
The final scene is where the movie finally picks up, unfortunately, and by that time it still feels very idealistic and easily explained. Finishing with a good note so that you have the feeling you still had the most wonderful time throughout the whole movie is a very tricky and smart move. Still, we can’t help but notice that the final enticement to what seemed to be a romantic comedy recklessly turned out to be something a little more complicated than that, is easily resolved just to please the fairy-tales lovers.
All this not being a bad thing for Engagement, since the efforts for telling this intricate story still feel pure, can’t help but have many issues with its natural flow. It still is somewhat enjoyable thanks the actors and the chemistry they were able to achieve. With few memorable moments and fewer “romantic” elements, Engagement is still a remarkable effort from the Apatow team, but can’t quite compete with either Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Knocked Up.
While I don’t think The Five Year Engagement would be the kind of movie you wanna pay a full-priced theatre ticket for, it’s still worth the watch for fans of the Apatow collection. Exploring too many themes in so little time made Engagement its own worst enemy at some times, not having the appropriate amount of time to develop them (this being said about a two-hour movie). Really smart writing and wonderful cinematography, Engagement lacks in pace and editing. Sweet and probably more appealing for the young couples, The Five Year Engagement is one of those movies you might wanna occasionally watch without expecting a whole lot from it to enjoy the most out of it.