By: Supriya Yelimeli
From the producer of Bridesmaids comes another romantic comedy, The Five Year Engagement, this time following the lives of an engaged couple, to be married in five years. Tom (Jason Segel) is a successful sous-chef inSan Francisco. One year after meeting his girlfriend, Violet (Emily Blunt), he proposes to her. The two are blissfully engaged until Violet gets accepted to a medical fellowship inMichigan. Tom decides the wedding can wait and the two move toMichigan, not realizing how much of a change it’s really going to be. The two adjust in different ways, Tom deciding to turn into a human Yeti (an abominable snowman, comparable to a human hermit) and Violet thoroughly adapting to her new setting, even receiving a promotion. The film continues with three more years of such mishaps, testing the strength of Tom and Violet’s relationship.
When wating the trailer, the movie seems to be filled with laughs and sweet moments, chronicling the part of a couple’s story that most other movies would gloss over in a well-tuned montage. The movie might have done better if it had been limited to a trailer. While Segel and Blunt definitely have onscreen chemistry and genuine personalities, the movie spreads these two redeeming factors as thin as possible. The experience is like watching the story of a couple for a literal five years. The movie is filled with aw-worthy moments, but they’re placed too far apart with miles of fluff in between. The supporting actors do add to the overall quality of the movie though, with characters such as Tom’s best friend Alex (Chris Pratt) and Violet’s sister Suzie (Alison Brie) providing comic relief and an overall relief from the movie’s overly extended plotline. If any other actors had attempted this movie, it would have failed miserably but Segel, Blunt, and the supporting actors save it from the romantic comedy graveyard with quirky personalities and perfect line delivery. When the movie works, it really succeeds in hitting a high note. If only the film had been about an hour and thirty minutes shorter. Aside from the unnecessary length, the movie does have a few adorable moments that reflect actual couples and the irrational behavior that plagues them. In the midst of a midnight fight Tom angrily insists he wants to be alone, and when Violet heads for the living room couch, he stops her saying, “No! I want to be alone, but with you here.” Lines such as these keep the movie interesting, but unfortunately aren’t enough to save it as a whole.
The Five Year Engagement has potential as a story, but it’s dragged down by its running time and lack of substantial plot elements. The cast does its best with what it’s given, creating a few moments here and there that show how good the movie could have been. The ending is sweet and wholesome, but the time it takes to get there leaves the audience with a feeling of relief rather than satisfaction.