Director: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Alison Brie, Chris Pratt
Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt) meet at a costumed New Year's Eve party. She was dressed as Princess Diana while he went in a full body bunny costume called "Super Bunny". A year later Tom proposes to Violet on the roof of the restaurant where he works as a sous chef. Everything seems fine and dandy as they start planning their wedding. Tom's best friend Alex (Pratt) ends up sleeping with Violet's sister Susie (Brie) at their engagement party. Don't worry, they keep the baby and get married. Alex gets his act together and becomes a committed dad and husband. Tom is having steady career working as a in a San Francisco clam bar, while Violet can't seem to get a job. One day a thick envelope comes in a mail with a job opportunity for Violet. It's a two year contract with the University of Michigan in their psychology department. This opportunity is too good for her to pass up. Tom and Violet decide to put their wedding planning on hold in order to move to Michigan. Just when Tom tells his boss he is leaving, he is told he was about to be a head chef in a new restaurant she was going to open.
Violet's job could not not be going any better. Her thesis using stale donuts is a hit with the head professor (Ryhs Ifans) and fellow teammates (Kevin Hart, Mindy Kaling, and Randall Park). Tom doesn't seem to have the same luck. He can't find a job at a fine dining restaurant that fits his skills or monetary needs. In a desperate move, he takes a job at a hit sandwich shop. Fast forward two years, Violet is offered another contract. The contract is for three years this time. A big fight ensues as this was not in the plans. Tom has become extremely unhappy in Michigan. He is going nowhere with his career and has become one with nature. He took an interest in hunting and has let his physical looks go by growing some awful facial hair. Tom and Violet turn to Alex and Susie for relationship help as their engagement is not going in the direction they once thought it was headed in.
This is the third collaboration by Stoller and Segel who previously wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets. The script is very polarizing for me. There were times where I was applauding it and other times where I was frustrated. The dialogue seemed very natural and realistic at times. It made me wonder if they were improving or if it was just written very easy and naturalistic. The relationship between Tom and Violet had lots of ups and downs. I really appreciated that in a romantic comedy that the main couple wasn't all cheerful and hunky dory the whole movie. I got frustrated during their down moments, which made me realize I was caring about them more than I expected I would. When the time frame of the movie spans five years, the audience doesn't want to feel like they are in the movie for five years. Many events and circumstances in their relationship gets covered which leads to a very long movie. The screenplay could easily have been cut down with the same feeling of the passage of time. The whole sub-plot of Tom becoming a Grizzly Adams is easily forgettable and not necessary. There are side characters that are unnecessary as well. Segel and Blunt have previously co-starred together in two movies. Their real life friendship effortlessly comes across on screen. They have great chemistry together which makes this relationship and storyline more relatable than other pairs in your standard rom-com. Alison Brie and Chris Pratt steal the movie as Tom’s dopey friend and Violet’s sister. They seem to be the most realistic and fleshed out characters. The Five-Year Engagement is charming and funny filled with two couples that I seemed to really care about. The big problem with the movie lies in the screenplay. It feels like a first draft that forgot to go through the editing phase.
RATING: *** 1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars)