The Five-Year Engagement Movie Review
admovieso | May 2, 2012 | No comments
The Five-Year Engagement is a new movie about a boring couple with a boring problem: the post-enagement blues. The Nicholas Stroller directed romantic comedy, which is neither funny nor emotionally stimulating, follows Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) after their decision to get engaged one year after their love-at-first-sight meeting at a New Year’s Eve party. Their world is shaken up a bit by a shot-gun wedding involving Violet’s sister (Alison Brie) and Tom’s best buddy (Chris Pratt). If that isn’t enough to throw a wrench into their already momentum-less and purposeless relationship then their real couple’s crisis surely provides a challenge: Violet earns a coveted graduate student spot at the University of Michigan’s school of Psychology and Tom must choose between his life as a successful chef in San Francisco and Violet’s career plans in Ann Arbor.
The move to Ann Arbor predictably engenders a myriad of problems, none of which are interesting, and it is difficult to view the couple in a sympathetic light. They have as much chemistry as oil and water and the little emotional connectivity they do share isn’t enough to make the audience care about them. Violet flourishes in Michigan under the guidance of her professor (Rhys Ifans) and Tom is unable to get his groove going. Eventually Tom finds work as a sandwich maker at a place called Zingerman’s; it is here that Tom meets the highlight of the film is the funny and profanity-drenched Tarquin (Brian Posehn). Of course the inevitable happens: Violet and Tom postpone their engagement, they grow apart, and Violet begins to grow closer to her professor. Big surprise. But these plot problems could have been mitigated by characters with depth and unfortunately they are a dime a dozen in The Five-Year Engagement. Sprinkle in the lame screenplay and you have one forgettable film. Even usually funny costars Chris Parnell, Mindy Hart and Kevin Kaling can do little to save the obviously-trying-way-too-hard-to-be-funny dialogue.
Stroller is the main culprit for this film’s lackluster sheen. Nothing is memorable or imaginative, from the camera shots to the so-called signature moments to the moments of romantic magic. Everything is flat and unbelievable. The Five-Year Engagement tries desperately to be a traditional romantic comedy packaged with more adult themes, but it just ends up being a worse version of The Break Up. In terms of movies playing now, people will likely see it; it is one of those flicks you go see when you are bored and apathetic on a Friday night. But the bottom line is: it is nearly impossible to care about a film that hinges on the authenticity of the chemistry of the lead couple—and that is ultimately why The Five-Year Engagement fails.