The Five Year Engagement
Cast: Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Alison Brie,
Rhys Ifans and Chris Pratt
Director: Nicholas Stoller
As someone who's engaged and sorting the whole married thing out this year, you could say I'm somewhat invested in a romantic comedy film like The Five Year Engagement already.
Emily Blunt and Jason Segel star as Tom and Violet, a couple who we first meet on New Year's Eve in San Francisco and one year after they initially hooked up. Up and coming chef Tom's about to propose to Violet and unsurprisingly, as befitting this cute couple, she accepts.
However, as they begin to plan their wedding, they find their thunder stolen by Violet's sister's urgent and unexpected marriage to Alex, Tom's best friend. Their engagement becomes further prolonged when Violet receives a job offer to work at a university in Michigan for a couple of years; Tom decides to head there with her, but soon discovers that leaving everything behind in San Fran for mid town America may not have been the best thing he could have done....
If I tell you The Five Year Engagement is from the producers of Bridesmaids, it'll give you a bit of a heads up of what kind of comedy we're pitching for here.
But unlike Bridesmaids, The Five Year Engagement is a not quite as R rated and raunchy.
Sure, it's a sweetly endearing film about a couple in love and the roadsblocks and hiccups on the way to true happiness - it's also very funny - but, it's not quite as good as Bridesmaids (if you're expecting another breakout hit like that).
Emily Blunt and Jason Segel make an adorably real and cute couple as they negotiate the rocky road of love, distance, relocation, wedding planning and life itself. The story route these guys take is a nice role reversal on the traditional "woman must follow where man goes" romcom and it gives it a slightly fresher edge in terms of the dynamics - plus the producers score by using San Francisco and Michigan for locations rather than the usual glitzy hang outs of the genre.
There's something endearing about the pair from the first time we meet them - either in the New Year's Eve proposal sequence to the flashbacks of Tom dressed as "Super Bunny" and Violet decked out as Princess Diana at a costume party - there's a frisson of reality to their courtship which helps you invest in them from the beginning. So, when things sadly hit the skids, you care - and that's a rare feat these days.
I have to admit though that in parts, The Five Year Engagement feels a little overlong as it rolls out its occasionally awkward comedy. At 2 hours, I reckon producers could have trimmed a little off without losing too much of the beat of the film - and while I can appreciate that not everything is played for laughs during this film, the unexpectedly great one liners and barbs make up for the lack of relatively long gag filled sequences that end up in a punchline.
All in all, The Five Year Engagement is a rare beast - a comedy drama that looks at what comes after the happy moment and the realities of what happens to a couple when reality intrudes. It's a guaranteed win for Blunt and Segel and offers up a cosy warm jumper of a movie which will leave you with a fuzzy glow afterwards.