Comedy, Romance Directed by //
Nicholas Stoller Stars //
Emily Blunt Running Time //
THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT | FILM REVIEW
by Alan Young
Having seen the trailer for 'The Five-Year Engagement' and realising it was written by and starring Jason Segel, I was quite interested as a fan. On the other hand it looked formulaic, even from the trailer I'd had the sense it was going to follow the basic algorithm of a romantic comedy. Boy and Girl seem perfect for each other, something disastrous will happen, they will separate and somehow all these differences will be swept aside once again in the name of true love. I threw up in my mouth a little as I wrote that line.
Despite the mix of anticipation and hesitation I still went to see it. It tells the story of a young couple Tom Solomon (Segel) and Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt). The two are at a stage in their relationship where they want to tie the knot however given circumstances they will have to postpone their wedding for a couple of years. As the title suggests it doesn't end there and it has to be delayed even further. Through the trials and tribulations of their romance will they manage to go through with the wedding?
I want to start off by saying I actually enjoyed this film. The premise may be a bit worn and jaded in some way. I mean how many times can they run this formulaic type of film out? However, as long as it's done well and you can get invested in the characters, then you can get away with it. There isn't much in the way of surprises in this film but it is well written, flows together well and is about the right length. It could have been 10-15 minutes shorter if I was being picky, there's a couple of dragging bits but other than that a good job done.
The shining point of this film is the acting. The portrayal of the main characters by all involved was superb. Segel continues to have this lovable enthusiasm on screen and he manages to bring it across in every role he has. I was also very impressed with Alison Brie playing the part of Violet's sister. She has an on-screen chemistry immediately with blunt and comedy timing as good as I've seen. My favourite scene in the movie displayed that chemistry perfectly, I don't want to spoil it but all I can say is, it's the Elmo scene. It was fantastic, the audience were laughing every single one of them in a packed theatre. From the young couple down the front to the couple on my right and even the punk rock chick on my left with pink hair and a bar through her nose. Everyone seemed to appreciate this scene.
And that lead me to the biggest tipping of my proverbial hat, to Emily Blunt. She is everything an actress should be in this film. She is believable in her role, great comedy timing, absolutely stunning (I know not necessarily unique to this role but I feel it should be mentioned), great on screen chemistry with everyone and the ability to convey so much with her expressions. Her performance was so good, as the viewer I forgot I was effectively watching a long line of clichés.
Overall the film was creative at times, very funny throughout also. The characters were what sealed it though. It was easy to get invested in the relationships between them. I really enjoyed this popcorn rom-com, it ticked all the boxes of what a good one needs to have but you didn't feel like you were watching the usual soppy nonsense. Jason Segel continues to impress with both his writing and acting. I look forward to seeing more from him in the future!