Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Save the Date!...Maybe: Our Review of "The Five-Year Engagement" (2012)

Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Alison Brie and Chris Pratt

Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language throughout

Synopsis: When Tom and Violet get engaged, all their dreams of getting married in the Bay Area of San Francisco seem to be coming true. That is, until Violet gets a job at The University of Michigan and puts those dreams on hold. Undaunted, the couple puts the wedding on hold for the two years of Violet's job timeline. Two years, turns into four years and soon the couple wonders how many more bumps in the aisle its going to be before they reach the altar.
Andrew: Hello readers! May is just around the corner and that means the summer blockbusters are coming, but before they do Sarah and I were treated to a comedy we’ve been waiting for for some time now – The Five-Year Engagement, starring a personal favorite of ours, Jason Segel.

Sarah, I know you said the other day in our weekly preview that you were worried they gave away too many of the funny parts in the trailer. Now that we’ve seen the film, what do you think of those worries now?

Sarah: I will have to say, they did give a lot away in the previews. More than I would have like to have seen. Now, while it did give a lot away, it was a cute movie. It had good heart and a nice little love story. What did you think?

A: I do think they gave some of humorous parts away in the trailer but overall I felt there were more surprises in the film because it’s actually relatively raunchy. If you didn’t see the red-band trailer then you didn’t see a lot of the better funny parts.

But you’re right, the script co-written by Jason Segel and director Nicholas Stoller had a lot of heart to it (and that’s not surprising considering how sweet Segel seems on Twitter).

I felt the relationship between Segel’s Tom and Emily Blunt’s Violet came off pretty genuine and realistic. The tough part of a movie like this is to portray the tough parts of the relationship, the parts that strain the characters’ relationship, and this one did it pretty well.

S: Yes, they portrayed the tough parts well and pretty true to real life. I actually think that it was nice to have a little reversal on typical men and women roles. Because it was Violet that they moved for, it changed the dynamics a little, and it was cool.

There were a couple things that I had a little trouble with. One was that it was pretty slow at times. There needed to be more editing done or even some topics expanded upon to make the story move better, but that could have been me.

A: No, you’re right that it had its slow moments. Not unlike pretty much every other film produced by Judd Apatow this one felt a little too long. I think that’s because there were a number of scenes that didn’t need to be cut out completely, but just trimmed down a touch. (For example, a scene early on where Violet’s sister tries to give a speech at the engagement party.)

That said, along the same lines of all other Apatow productions, parts of the movie that made The Five-Year Engagement a little long ended up making the movie as a whole stronger, in my opinion. The film really has four acts – leading up to the characters’ move from San Francisco to Ann Arbor, the move and early years in Michigan, the downward slope and then the final act. It was the downward slope part that seemed a little long to me but it really humanized the characters and felt organic.

A number of people in the theatre were obviously invested in the characters and stories because when they started doing “stupid” things, there were genuine reactions of disgust and/or disappointment in what was going on on-screen. But if it weren’t for that part of the film, there wouldn’t be the pay-off you expect in the final act. And I think that’s a testament to the actors, writing and director.

S: I also think that it had a lot to do with the fact that there were a lot of married couples in the theatre. With your “act” theory, I think that it struggled a little bit. I wish the story would have focused on some parts more than others and wouldn’t have passed time so fast without there being some sort of landmarks to mark the passing of time.

A: What parts do you wish it would have focused on more, and then vice versa?

S: I wished they hadn’t focused on Jason Segel growing this massive beard and becoming such a bum. He really goes downhill but I wish they had tightened it up a little bit more. There is a whole conversation about knitting that and Chris Parnell’s character have that just really doesn’t need to take place.

I wish that they had focused a little more on the changing of personalities. All of a sudden things change and the audience is just supposed to accept it.

A: Completely agreed! With all of that said though, it was definitely a funny film and it was sweet. What would our final assessment of The Five-Year Engagement?

S: I would have to say it's a good way to kill a Saturday afternoon during a matinee. It was cute but you wouldn’t necessarily need to see it in theatres.

(Out of five)

1 comment:

  1. The huge cast is done right, with almost everyone here getting their own chances to show what they got when it comes to comedy, but sadly, Blunt and Segel are sort of left to the side. Still, good flick even though it wasn't as funny as I would have liked it. Good review Andrew.