Following the release of The Muppets in February, I’ve had a soft spot for Jason Segel, and I saw a poster for The Five Year Engagement a while ago, so it’s been on my mind for some months. With its release a week ago, it moved swiftly to the top of my must-see list.
Segel plays Tom Solomon, a skilled sous chef in San Francisco, who met his girlfriend (and soon to be fiancée), Violet Barnes, at a New Year’s Eve party. Emily Blunt fills the role of Violet, and acts as an interesting pairing to Segel’s eccentricities.
After a proposal of sorts, the two settle into engaged life together, and begin to plan their wedding. There are a few formalities first, such as the engagement party, where we meet family and friends of the stars. Community‘s Alison Brie crops up as Violet’s little sister, and for the rest of the film demonstrates the life you expect Tom and Violet to live together.
Violet’s ambition to work in academia leads the film towards its name, as the couple put off their wedding for the sake of their careers… or at least the career of one of them. The pair move to accommodate Violet’s new job, and Tom’s life descends into chaos as he meets local househusbands and tries to find his feet in a new town. Tom’s misery and mishaps provide some decent laughs, but the oddities are interspersed with some weak scenes of Violet at work.
The film seemed to take longer than necessary to progress, as only halfway through I found myself shifting in my seat, bored as the jokes dried up and the story seemed to slip away.
It did come back for the finale, as the cast pull together for a whirlwind finish. The standout scene of the film was Blunt and Brie arguing about family and marriage, but in the voices of Cookie Monster and Elmo respectively. It seems Segel, a co-writer of the film, just can’t clear his head of those cuddly fiends.
Overall, with a number of good laughs, I would consider re-watching this film on DVD, if not at the cinema. The scenes with Segel were the most fun, and when joined by Blunt, the film delivered a much needed alternative to big summer blockbusters.