Getting engaged is far easier than getting married. If you're not eloping or foregoing anything beyond a City Hall ceremony, it requires planning. A lot of planning. And if you're really lucky, life won't get in the way of organizing your special occasion. But if the stars don't align, you could be in for a long engagement. In the case of this film's couple, it was a Five-Year Engagement
Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) were madly in love and after dating for a year, he awkwardly popped the question. Then in the midst of wedding planning they had to relocate, which resulted in an unavoidable delay. The postponement eventually seems never-ending for the couple and their families, resulting in shouting matches, depression and mistakes.
By the end, the film has followed the standard rom com rules, but the middle section does get a bit darker than usual. Unfortunately this section also lasts longer than it should, pushing the runtime to more than two hours. Feeling unsatisfied after their move, Tom adopts some very disturbing hobbies and habits that include hunting and "natural" decor. Then again, going from sunny San Francisco to frigid Michigan is bound to be a downer so you can sympathize – at least until it gets weird.
One of the reasons the movie is so amusing is it spends a large portion of the film being over-the-top: the above-mentioned situation with Tom; Violet's co-worker's humour and obsession with masturbation (played by Kevin Hart); and the unreal but cute ending. On the other hand, this makes it difficult to relate to a lot of the specifics of their situation, even if the big picture is relevant to many relationships.
Co-writer Segel and Blunt are wonderful together. They are very believable as a couple, whether gushing “I love you” or yelling irately. Tom’s need to be “alone” so he can think, which also requires Violet remain next to him in bed is great moment. Their narrative isn’t steadily engaging, but the supporting characters keep the story interesting, including an understated performance by Rhys Ifans. To this point, near the end of the film, Violet has a heated debate about her relationship with her sister, Suzie (Alison Brie). But because it’s in front of Suzie’s children, they do so using Elmo and Cookie Monster voices, which is probably the best scene in the entire picture.
Bottom line: you will laugh throughout the movie, but a little less movie to laugh at would be welcome.
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jason Segel
, Emily Blunt
and Rhys Ifans