The Five-Year Engagement feels five hours too long, is fifteen jokes short of a punch line and worst of all, a script so poorly put together, you aren’t quite sure what’s going on during the majority of the film.
Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, who brought us the hilarious and charming Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I had high hopes for this film and was severely disappointed with the overall picture.
Since Judd Apatow threw his name under the producer credits, I thought this was going to be the year’s perfect romantic comedy, mixed with a little bit of Bridesmaids and Knocked Up. But Apatow must know this film is far from the best comedies he’s written or produced.
Tom (Jason Segel), a sous chef in San Francisco proposes to Violet (Emily Blunt) on the one-year anniversary on the night they met: New Year’s Eve. We get a glimpse of Tom and Violet’s low-key relationship in these early scenes, but it’s never enough to see the full-blown chemistry these characters supposedly have.
As they are planning their wedding, Violet gets accepted into the University of Michigan’s to study for her doctorate in psychology, which starts the postponing of their big day to wed.
Violet’s sister (Scream 4’s Alison Brie) got drunkenly pregnant with Tom’s BFF (Chris Pratt) and those two decide to wed, have the baby and live happily ever after, prolonging Tom and Violet’s nuptials even more.
These two characters take too much precedence in the film and just come across as annoying, unsympathetic and a distraction from Tom and Violet’s storyline.
Segel and Blunt have perfect on-screen chemistry, but they don’t have enough scenes with just the two of them. We were too distracted by the crap side characters and the drama going on in Tom and Violet’s relationship that it was impossible for us to see what made them fall in love in the first place.
Even the inherent likability of the two stellar leads isn’t enough to save the film. Blunt’s character becomes so strained and Segel’s character so depressed, that at several times in the film I wanted them to break up and be done with it!
Half way through the movie, I simply stopped caring about their relationship because we were never given a strong foundation of their relationship in the beginning, during the ‘happy times.’ The relationship drama was too centered on Violet and the story didn’t present her in a good light at all. There was no balance of power in the relationship, which made it pointless to watch.
As the audience, we are supposed to be rooting for these two characters, feel for them and believe that they belong together. That is the primary goal of a romantic comedy or of a comedy that involves two people in a relationship as the leads! I questioned their relationship throughout most of the movie and thought that these two people were not made for each other.
Frankly, if Segel and Stoller wrote a better script, this film could have been a solid comedy about relationships, love and the complications that come with love and marriage. Instead, it’s all over the place, boring, depressing and unfunny.