"The Five-Year Engagement" - not very romantic, and not very comicApril 27, 2012 @ 9:53 am (Updated: 10:31 am - 4/27/12 )
Actor Jason Segel's career has been on a roll ever since he started writing his own screenplays. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "The Muppet Movie" established him as a plausible leading man, albeit a comic one.
His latest film is "The Five-Year Engagement," a romantic comedy with Emily Blunt. And to put it bluntly, I think Segel needed a better writer this time out. And maybe an editor.
For most people, a real-life five-year engagement is just too long and that's unfortunately true of this movie too. At over two hours, it is at least a half-hour longer than it needs to be. There are long, long stretches where the movie just sags.
And that's especially a problem for romantic comedies, whose structures are necessarily predictable: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back. A saggy script saps the energy out of the movie and the romance goes limp. Since our couple gets engaged in the first five minutes of the movie and the resolution of their problems happens in the last five minutes of the movie, that leaves a lot of time for the boy-loses-girl segment of the romantic comedy formula. Like I said, too much.
Emily Blunt is a young academic, in psychology, and Jason Segel is an on-the-rise chef when they meet cute in San Francisco. When Emily gets a job at the University of Michigan, Jason gives up his chance at being a top chef and moves to snowy Michigan with her. But the longer he stays in Michigan, the lower his self-esteem falls. He can't find a job comparable to his worth (apparently no one needs a good chef in Ann Arbor) and Blunt's career is really taking off. So trouble ensues and ensues and ensues.
Much of the boredom could be avoided if the jokes were of a high caliber. But they're most decidedly not. (An entire riff on peonies as substitutes for penises can't be anybody's idea of funny, can it?)
As far as romantic comedies go, The Five-Year Engagement is neither romantic enough nor comic enough to qualify. Blunt and Segel are pleasant enough actors, I suppose, but they're not nearly engaging enough to get an audience to commit.
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