The Five Year Engagement
Review by Anthony Morris
Tom (Jason Segel) is a chef in San Francisco.
Violet (Emily Blunt) is his grad student girlfriend – though not for
long, as the film opens with him proposing, he says yes, everyone
getting excited and then everything going wrong.
First her sister (Alison Brie) gets knocked up by
his best friend Alex (Chris Pratt) so of course they have to get
married and Tom & Violet have to wait until after that before
Then Violet gets a great job offer out in the
wilds of Michigan and while it’s not exactly a thriving hub of
cutting-edge cooking, Tom says he’s more than happy to go with her for
the two years her degree will take.
Of course, this being a relationship comedy from
the United States in the 21st Century, he quickly goes off the rails:
the only job he can get is in a sandwich shop, he’s completely bored,
his friends are weirdos and before long he’s grown muttonchops and is
way too into hunting.
Meanwhile, things are going just fine for Violet –
maybe a little too fine, what with her professor (Rhys Ifans)
suggesting her career could be on the fast-track if she sticks
There’s nothing that surprising going on here
plot-wise – it’s the usual rom-com arc where they meet, fall in love,
something tears them apart so they can get back together in the end –
only this time what’s tearing them apart is, well, Tom being a
Seriously, while Violet basically does nothing
wrong throughout the film Tom spends the middle third sulking in
Supposedly this is about the strain of making
sacrifices for love but he’s acting like a sullen teen and for a comedy
a lot of the relationship stuff is just painful. The comedy isn’t
exactly solid gold either, and while both Segel and Blunt are massively
charming – they actually make you want to see them succeed as a couple,
despite the script – with so many flat patches at two full hours this
is a lot longer than it needs to be.
While this does take the Judd Apatow (who produced
this) rom-com template in a slightly different direction – at least now
the men are willing to commit, even if only on their terms – it doesn’t
step up when it comes to the comedy.
It’s not a fatal flaw, just one too big to ignore.
Australian release: 3rd May,
Site: The Five Year Engagement
Cast: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt,
Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans
Director: Nicholas Stoller