Watching the unique story of a complex relationship in the new romantic comedy The Five Year Engagement is a purely pleasurable experience. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt lift the words from Segel and Nicholas Stoller's screenplay and make this a story come to life on the screen. Some might carp about the length of the film or its lack of fall-over funny lines and sequences, but I admire the warmth, intelligence and heart presented. I didn't want it to end.
Segel and Blunt play Tom Solomon and Violet Barnes, two people living in San Francisco who met at a New Year's Eve costume party. A year later Tom pops the question and they begin to plan their wedding. That is when complications arise. Tom has a great job as a Sous Chef at a super restaurant, while Violet plans to work on her post graduate degree at Berkeley.
Violet doesn't get selected for Berkeley but she does get an offer for a two year study program at the University of Michigan. Tom resigns his job and moves with her but is never really happy there. This puts a strain on their relationship, especially when Violet is in awe of her major professor, Winton Childs (Rhys Ifans), and is totally compatible with her study partners. This group is composed of Vaneetha (Mindy Kaling), Doug (Kevin Hart) and Ming (Randall Park).
The ups and downs of the couple's relationship make up the plot of the film. It is not a simple case of he's wrong and she's right or vice versa but rather a collection of little instances that make the film fascinating. We get an in-depth look at Tim and Violet as well as their friends and families and each layer of relationships which are revealed add to the beauty of the story.
Segel and Blunt have the right chemistry to bring this story to life. They both are consistent in their characters' looks and attitudes. You get to know these people, in-depth, and are able to form an opinion as to what you think about their relationship. Tom is always Tom and Violet is always Violet and being so narrows their hopes for happiness but also adds to the possibility of them working things out (see, I told you it was complex).
Adding to the enjoyment of the film are Chris Pratt and Alison Brie as Tom's best friend Alex and Violet's sister Suzie. They add an appealing wackiness to the story which makes for some of the movie's best laugh moments.
The movie is rated R for profanity and sexual situations.
This Judd Apatow produced movie should not be lumped in with his latest box office losers which were crudely humorous and intellectually lacking. The Five Year Engagement presents a total story of two people trying to get it right and running into one obstacle after another -- some of their own making.
Take a chance on this film and enter the theater with an open mind. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find waiting.
I scored The Five Year Engagement a proposed 7 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper
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