The Five Year Engagement

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller

Written by: Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller

Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Rhys Ifans and Chris Pratt

Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) get engaged. Violet doesn’t get a job in their home town of San Francisco but receives a job offer integral to the progress of her career interstate that will last for two years. Tom convinces Violet that he’s O.K to pause his career progression at home in order for her to further her career and they move.

Wedding movies are inherently predictable. There’s a distinct formula and literally every element – proposals, engagements, bucks parties, hens celebrations, and the wedding proper have all been done ad nauseum. Although, when you’ve got a great character[s] that you can put into this series of situations that are ripe for comedy, you can still get insanely funny flicks e.g. Bridesmaids and the Hangover. 

The Five Year engagement appears to have the boxes ticked to make a successful rom-com. A charming and funny, everyman lead in Jason Segel; the beautiful, likeable and very funny Emily Blunt, a hilarious group of supporting actors, the writing/directing team up behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Stoller and Segel) and Judd Apatow guiding the ship as producer. The result couldn’t be farther from Knocked Up or Sarah Marshall in fact it’s probably more akin to Bucky Larson.

The short, sharp essential elements roughly succeed because there’s an economy to their execution. The proposal is cute and fun, the flashbacks to how they met (featuring Emily Blunt dressed as Princess Di), the engagement party’s awkward speeches and sing-a-long by Chris Platt’s Alex, Alison (Mad Men & Community) Brie’s tear speech and participation in general was great. However it’s swamped in an awful, and awfully LONG, trail to get to the resolution that a) deconstructs Tom (Segel) to the point that there’s nothing that you like about him and b) makes Violet (Blunt) look ridiculous and stupid despite the character’s profession as a psychological/behavioural expert. I had a lot trouble understanding that she could be so oblivious. And Tom’s transition in adapting to their new environment was just plain baffling.

The Five Year Engagement takes a broadly appealing premise, a really charming pair of leads and then drags you through the five most laborious, nonsensical, frustrating years of wedding rom-com history. I would have preferred to spend five years in the dungeon in Silence of the Lambs…putting the lotion on the skin…before I get the hose again.

Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman

The Five Year Engagement was released in Australia on the 3rd of May 2012, and in the U.S.A on the 27th April 2012.