DIRECTOR Nicholas Stoller
CAST Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie
A newly engaged couple find that the unpredictability of life and the everyday challenges of love make it a long walk down the aisle. An inventive, funny, and sometimes subversive romantic comedy from the makers of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, with charming performances from the two leads. (2012 USA 124 minutes)
Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) are the perfect couple. So when Tom proposes on New Year’s Eve, everything looks set for a fairy-tale wedding and happy-ever-after. Things go awry, however, when Violet’s academic career, and life in general, conspire to get in the way.
BBFC advice: Contains strong language, sex and sex references
"... Film critics, who see these "romcoms" (ugh) week in, week out, have learnt to approach them with caution: the best you can hope for is some freshness in the playing, a few laughs, and a pinch of real feeling.
By cheering coincidence, and without making a big deal about it, The Five-Year Engagement has all three of those ingredients. True, it's hampered by a bland giveaway title, but then it does start at the point most romantic comedies conclude. We first meet San Francisco sous chef Tom (Jason Segel) and his girlfriend Violet (Emily Blunt), a doctoral student in social psychology, on their way to a party. He's behaving rather oddly, and under her persistent questioning in the car he cracks, presenting her with the engagement ring he planned to give her in a lovely spot overlooking the Bay. She says yes, but insists that they go through with his sweet romantic hoo-ha anyway, even though they both know how it ends: the film is a bit like this, too.
So their troth is plighted, and all set fair. As the countdown to matrimony begins, however, circumstances conspire to delay them. Violet's sister Suzie (Alison Brie) jumps the gun by getting hitched to Tom's co-chef and best friend Alex (Chris Pratt), and they have a baby to boot. Then Violet wins a two-year research fellowship, not at the local university but in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A decision must be made, and Tom agrees to move, sacrificing the big promotion he was due as chef at the Clam Bar. What's interesting is that the script (by director Nicholas Stoller, reuniting with Muppets co-writer Segel) presents the couple's dilemma very honestly. Violet explains that her own mother had to move for her husband's job, and resented him ever after. She's determined they won't repeat that mistake: she doesn't want Tom to be a martyr and do it just to please her.
... The film makes light of its two-hour length thanks to an exceptionally strong cast. The leads do outstanding work: Emily Blunt, who first came to notice as the brittle junior witch of The Devil Wears Prada, shows an entirely different side here, investing Violet with a warmth and humour that feel (as far as one can judge) quite spontaneous. She has a great laugh, too.
... The Five-Year Engagement sets its face against the old tropes of traditional romantic comedy and its foolish enshrinement of "perfection". It is altogether more humble, and more truthful, in charting the pitfalls of modern coupledom. To be selfish in the pursuit of ambition and fulfilment or to be a martyr in facilitating your partner's? Can one find a middle ground? In doing so the film also gets to grips with the difficult subject of self-worth, difficult for American movies, that is, which so often confuse it with self-entitlement. Feelings of wistfulness, of frustration and disappointment, underlie the comedy of this long engagement, and it's a mark of the nuanced script and performances that the outcome actually begins to matter to us."
UK RELEASE 22 June 2012
RUNNING TIME 124 minutes
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