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The Five-Year Engagement

May 14, 2012

Relationships are a tricky thing. They can be long, short, beautiful, ugly, good, bad and hilarious. With all of these ingredients I understand how hard it is to make a relationship movie relatable. It is even harder when it is following up Forgetting Sarah MarshallForgetting Sarah Marshall is a wonderful movie . The Five Year Engagement is good with some wonderful moments.

Why the comparison to FSM? They are both collaborations between director Nicholas Stoller and writer/actor Jason Segel. Also, the movie is produced by the same people who made Funny People, Bridesmaids, Forty Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. None of these movies are short or predictable. They are full of hundreds of supporting characters, raunch and honesty.

Maybe it is Apatow fatigue that kept the audience from this movie ($10 million opening weekend). The 64% Rotten Tomatoes rating and 66% audience score spelled doom as well. I understand why the movie got a 60% but it didn’t keep me from enjoying most of it.

It is incredibly uneven, scattershot and long.  These traits are not a bad thing. This is a hybrid of a film that will separate the masses. Some will think it is long others will appreciate the honesty and length. There are moments of this film I didn’t like then minutes later I found myself loving the film again. It is a rollercoaster  that follows conventions yet somehow breaks them.

The plot centers around newly engaged Segel and Blunt. Segel is a chef on the rise and Blunt is a doctoral candidate. She gets accepted to the University of Michigan and the two travel there. Blunt’s career blossoms and Segel works at a popular local sandwich shop with little room for advancement. What follows are the trials, tribulations and lack of communication that keeps them away from the altar.

I look at this film like Lewis and Clark’s journey to the west. It was long and unpredictable (understatement). However, they saw some really wonderful things along the way (huge understatement). The Five-Year journey was not always great (anything with doughnuts). However, the journey was necessary to make it through the years of toil. When a movie is working I don’t see a need for it to be shorter. I actually think some movies should be longer (Tron 2). I liked the couple and wanted to see them actually figure things out even if it took two hours.

The Five-Year Engagement swings for the fences and occasionally strikes out. However, when it connects the result is big laughs and honest moments that resonate after you’ve left the theater.

The question is this. Do you want to watch forgettable fluff or a movie that provides wonderful moments amidst the chaos? I guarantee you will like the relationship between Chris Pratt and Allison Brie. They meet at the engagement party, get married and have two kids before Segal/Blunt get married.

I get tired of movies that are too safe and mainstream. You can see the confidence and bravado in Five-Year. However, confidence leads to cockiness which I feel kept audiences and critics at bay. To think that audiences would show up to a film about two good-looking people who wait five years to get married because of lack of communication is asking a lot.

The Five-Year Engagement will find its audience eventually. It is an ambitious, cocky and random film that swung for the fences.

One Comment leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    November 8, 2012 11:55 am

    Wow! Alison Brie, Chris Pratt and Rhys Ifans…what a fantastic supporting cast! And the weird big, bearded nerd from Just Shoot Me needs to get way more work.

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