Film Review: THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT

Directed by Nicholas Stoller
Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
Starring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Alison Brie, Chris Pratt, Rhys Ifans

This is the kind of movie you want to like. Two likable actors play the happy/unhappy couple. And there were moments when I did like it, but also many when I did not.

PLOT: After a year’s relationship, Tom (Segel), a chef, and Violet (Blunt), a newly-minted Ph.D. decide to marry. But their path to the altar turns out to be a circuitous one that takes them out of their comfort zone in San Francisco and deposits in the U.S. version of Siberia, Ann Arbor, Michigan where Violet has won a post-doc. Tom can find no better job than making sandwiches at a deli. Romantic entanglements ensue, some of them funny, but most of them not

Now as a resident of Michigan and a parent of two kids who attended the University of Michigan, the setting both attracted and repelled me. The movie gets almost nothing right about Ann Arbor except when they just turn a camera on it. The city has many excellent restaurants and a good chef would find work over the time spent here. Who would fund a long-term post-doc project on whether people with low self-esteem eat stale donut if offered? Well, okay, maybe they would. Several not so funny motifs are repeated over and over. A pink bunny suit was funny in A Christmas Story but that film knew seeing it once was enough. Here they pulled it out four times.

What the movie has going for it are two leads with charisma and chemistry, and two second bananas (Pratt and Brie) who steal every scene they are in. There are some good bits here but not enough to justify the two hours. It felt very long indeed. It you go expecting to see a film like THE BRIDESMAIDS, FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, I LOVE YOU, MAN or THE HANGOVER prepare to be let down. The laugh quotient is slight. Only recommended if you love this type of film. In that case, you could do worse.

Patti
Be sure to stop by http://www.pattinase.blogspot.com/ to check out Forgotten Books every Friday as well as other thoughts, comments and reviews. A collection of her stories, Monkey Justice (Snubnose Press) can be found on Amazon.