The Five-Year Engagement: The Journey Between Popping the Question and Tying the Knot (2012)

Posted: May 1, 2012 in Comedy, Romance

One year after meeting at a New Year’s Eve party, Tom Solomon takes a leap and proposes to his girlfriend, Violet Barnes. With the two madly in love, they ignore the apprehensions and oddities expressed by their families and continue to pursue their plans to continue their lives together. As Tom continues to succeed in his role as a chef, Violet is anxiously awaiting her hopeful acceptance to Stanford for graduate school. When she fails to get Stanford but is offered a spot at the University of Michigan, they have to make a difficult choice to alter their plans and move to Ann Arbor. While this is a great opportunity for Violet, Tom tries to conceal his frustration and depression with his resignation from a possible promotion and he downgrade to working in a deli. Violet continues to advance into her path toward her post-doc, while Tom tries to keep the wedding afloat and find motivation for sticking it out in Michigan.

Starring: Jason Segel (Tom Solomon), Emily Blunt (Violet Barnes), Chris Pratt (Alex Eihauer), Alison Brie (Suzie Barnes-Eihauer), Laura Weedman (Chef Sally), Mimi Kennedy (Carol Solomon), David Paymer (Pete Solomon), Jacki Weaver (Sylvia Dickerson-Barnes), Rhys Ifans (Winton Childs), Mindy Kaling (Vaneetha), Randall Park (Ming), Kevin Hart (Doug), Chris Parnell (Bill), Gerry Bednob (Pakistani Chef), Brian Posehn (Tarquin), Dakota Johnson (Audrey), Molly Shannon (Onion Chef)

In this film by the producers of Bridemaids, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt lead the way as the couple in love. Segel plays a rather goofy man-child who has a strong romantic side and is extremely accommodating of his partner’s personal/professional goals. He reverses traditional gender roles, in the sense that he becomes more of the homemaker and gives up on his dreams for the sake of his partner.Blunt is rather sweet and has both great flexibility and determination in the combination of her wedding and career goals. The two together actually have a fairly believable relationship. Chris Pratt, as best friend Alex Eilhauser, is more of a comic relief in his immature behavior more toward the beginning of the story. Alison Brie, as Blunt’s sister, provides an element of comedy as well in his more uptight personality in her relationship with Eihauser.

  

Nicholas Stoller developed this film as a way to highlight the complexity and challenges associated with life before marriage. Most romantic comedies focus more on the life after marriage or the dynamics of odd pairings meeting prior to engagement. Tom and Violet seemed to make an instant connection and found they had a number of characteristics in common. There love was extremely strong even after there was an initial delay with moving forward in their wedding planning, but both individuals were exploring their own careers while trying to make it to the alter. With Violet’s move to Michigan hanging in the balance, Tom made a tough choice to support her and give up his job and his dreams. While Tom floundered in his career and his self-worth, Violet’s success began to diminish her attention to their relationship together. She became willing to let Tom let himself go and cared less about the experience the wedding would be. While her experiments seemed to have meaning for her while their relationship, the long delay in the engagement seemed to have a number of negative effects on their partnership.

  

This film uses a more awkward style of comedy to draw laughs from the crowd, but it does not seem to work as well as expected for the more comedic focus. In turn, there is a greater realism to the story because of the somewhat poor comedic execution. While Jason Segel has his moments of more slapstick success, the dialogue is a bit on the dry side, resembling more of the real life struggles of relationships with people on different wavelengths. There are a few crude moments between Jason Segel, Alex Eilhauser and Brian Posehn, but there is actually some restraint to the amount of visual representation in comparison to other films of its genre. The most redeeming element of the film is actually in its closure with the ending, which gets back to a better combination of romance and comedy in the strongest representation of the film.

While there are some redeeming moments between Segel and Blunt, as well as some of the supporting cast, the film overall falls a little flat and encourages a more awkward laughter.

Dan’s Rating: 2.5/5

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