Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review 102: "The Five-Year Engagement"

Five years? That's like one more
year than four years!
    The Five-Year Engagement, like the central relationship in the movie, it complicated. See, it has a lot of good things going for it. The leads are two of the best actors making movies today, the script was written by the very funny Nicholas Stoller and the premise is interesting. And yet, the film ends up so average. There is a number of reasons for this, but ultimately, it comes down to one: It's five-years long.
    Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) have been happily dating for about a year when they decide to up their game and get married. Yet, as the title might imply, the road to their wedding is a long one. Over the course of the next 5 years, Tom and Violet's wedding takes a back seat to multiple incidents that pop up along the way. Incidents like Violet's sister Suzie (Alison Brie)  and Tom's best friend Alex (Chris Pratt) accidentally get pregnant and married, Violet getting a new job at a college alongside Rhys Ifans, Mindy Kaling, Kevin Hart and Randall Park and Tom going a little bit insane.
Segel is now officially a Muppet.
    There is a lot to love in The Five-Year Engagement. Mainly, Segel and Blunt have perfect chemistry together. They are, of course, the central couple of the film and thankfully they bring a realism to the couple not a lot of romantic comedies actually have. The two genuinely look like their in love and their performances alone are worth watching the movie. The story of their long road to the alter is one you get invested in because, for once in a romantic comedy, you actually care about the romance. Couple that with great performances by the supporting cast, including a scene-stealing role by Alison Brie, and you get a movie worth checking out.
    Though, it's not a perfect movie either. The biggest problem with The Five-Year Engagement is that five years is way to long a time for the movie. The film, sans credits, clocks in at just under 2 hours and it definitely feels like to hours. And while it is 2 hours that you don't mind watching, a good half hour could have been removed with little to no ill effects. The film takes an episodic structure, which means that every now and again, the film will delve into a story completely unnecessary to the plot. A good 15 minutes or so is devoted to Tom going insane with boredom in Michigan, where Violet is working, and goes hunting crazy. This little section adds really nothing to the story and is never mentioned after it's resolved.
Guess what doesn't have a black
bathing suit in the movie!
    The Five-Year Engagement is a good romantic comedy. The leads give great and believable performances that get you invested in the relationships, while most of the supporting cast manages to get quite a few laughs in a well. However, a just under 2 hours long, the movie's story is often stretched thin, with unimportant side-story taking over the main narrative. The overdone plot isn't enough to ruin the movie, but it's enough to keep it from being truly great. The Five-Year Engagement gets 4 and a half stars out of 6.

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