The Five-Year Engagement

Put Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Alison Brie and Chris Pratt in a film and it’s almost a guarantee I’ll enjoy it. The only question is to what degree? If it weren’t for an extended length, The Five-Year Engagement would’ve been much, much better.


Sous-chef Tom (Segel) and academic Violet (Blunt) become engaged during a semi career limbo for both. He has been working to become head chef for years and she is waiting to hear back from Berkeley about a psychology teaching job. When she is accepted to the University of Michigan, not Berkeley (our administration clearly has no idea what they’re doing), the couple move to Ann Arbor, while holding off the wedding for a bit. From there, more and more gets in the way as Tom begins to hate his new life and Violet focuses on her career.

The best way to describe Engagement is that it takes a slightly different route to reach the same result. As mentioned, the film is too long (over two hours) so there is just an immense amount of plot points that I could cover, but won’t. The first hour is so jam-packed with character progression you begin to check your watch just to realize how little, in terms of the film, has actually happened. While Engagement ultimately is just another rom-com, writers Segel and Nicholas Stoller add some darker elements to showcase the character arcs.

With this and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I am becoming more and more convinced that Segel is a character genius – also, he’s taking over for Will Ferrell as the comedian who is naked all the time. He finds ways to make the audience care about everything going on with his characters. Tom is Segel’s typical teddy bear, lovable guy, but we see a change in him when he is forced to leave San Francisco. Meanwhile, Violet goes from all smiles and giggles to a slightly selfish person. Yet, with these changes, you can’t blame either one for their personality choices. You could argue Violet is the “bad guy”, but that is a somewhat moot point since her choices were unemployment or great career.

From the marketing campaign, I was given the idea that Alex (Pratt) was “the worst best man”, but he actually is a great friend, albeit a jackass. He cares about Tom and loves Violet as a person; he just shows it in crude and raunchy ways. Suzie (Brie) seems to have everything go right for her since she is the younger sister. She is a somewhat irrelevant character for the story, but she is great when she gets the chance. Lastly, Rhys Ifans is a long way from his chain-smoking, field goal kicking days in the classic* The Replacements. As professor Winton Childs, he is the stereotypical rom-com “guy can do everything but is a bit of a sleaze.” He doesn’t get to be as hilarious as we know he can be, but he has his moments.

The Five-Year Engagement is nothing special, but it is immensely entertaining and has many very amusing moments. I don’t know how they could’ve cut it down, but that would have been beneficial. Luckily, you care about the characters as if they were your friends, so you can’t help but enjoy the show.

*Yes, I referred to The Replacements as a classic. Don’t take life so seriously.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: