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TBTS Reviews: The Five-Year Engagement

May 4, 2012

The-Five-Year-Engagement-posterThe Five-Year Engagement is the latest rom-com to grace the silver screen, and the producers made lots of promises to the audience when selling this thing. Starring Jason Segel! And the beautiful Emily Blunt! Produced by Judd Apatow! Look, Emily Blunt gets shot in the leg in the trailer!

My love of romantic comedies is no secret, and I will watch anything involving Jason Segel. So of course I wanted to see this movie when I first saw the trailer. And I’m happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed. But I wasn’t impressed either. Spoilers below…

The Five-Year Engagement was pegged as the movie that begins where most rom-coms end: with the proposal and the supposed happily-ever-after. Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) get engaged after a year of dating, and all the standard social rituals follow: telling the parents, having the engagement party, etc. Then Violet receives a job offer from the University of Michigan, so very far away from their lives, their jobs, their friends and family in San Francisco. Tom is unfazed; what’s two years? They can wait. So they pack their car and head East.

Violet quickly settles into her new job and new life in Michigan, while Tom struggles to find a job as a chef, after having to give up an amazing chance in San Francisco to be head chef at a hot new restaurant. He eventually takes a position at a beloved local sandwich shop, but it’s clear he’s not happy there. He wilts while Violet thrives. Inevitably, the couple starts to drift apart, and over the next five years, they fight, they break up, he moves back to San Francisco, she eventually follows him, and the movie ends with the two of them finally tying the knot.

The Five-Year Engagement is a sweet movie. Segel and Blunt are adorable, and while they lack a certain amount of chemistry, you can imagine the two of them as an actual couple. Their problems are not unlike the problems most couples face: one partner progresses while the other stagnates, one partner gives up a dream to allow the other to follow hers, and so on and so on. The problem with this movie is that there is no real drama. The break-up seems rather silly, and there’s always the feeling they will reconcile in the end. The problems are not insurmountable. I found myself thinking on more than one occasion, “Really? They’re fighting over THAT?”

The Five-Year Engagement has not done as well as predicted, but it’s still early. It may gain some ground in the coming weeks. The problem may be that people are expecting Bridesmaids 2, which is not what you’ll get with this film. There are chuckles but no belly laughs, tensions but no crises. You watch this film and at the end feel kind of meh about the whole thing. This is not a dramatic ride. There are no extremes of emotion. Still, it is a sweet, cute movie. It’s worth seeing on a Saturday afternoon with a boy you like. But The Notebook, this is not.

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2 Comments
  1. May 4, 2012 12:23 pm

    On the fence if I’ll see if this in their theaters. I too have an intense love for Segel and was so impressed by Sarah Marshall & The Muppets (see my review for that one), however, the reviews for this one have been so-so. But, he still has a better track record than most.

  2. May 8, 2012 10:25 pm

    Spot on. Didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it either. The parts that I liked – I loved (Cookie/Elmo, the whole awkward proposal, the wedding Violet plans in the end). But other parts really dragged for me. Nice review!

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