Film Review: Darkly Comic Jason Segel in ‘The Five-Year Engagement’

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CHICAGO – There are some major laughs in “The Five-Year Engagement,” good old fashion you-can’t-breathe laughs. But is it also dark and serious at times, and makes some surprising contemporary statements regarding coupling. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt portray the engaged couple. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Although it has some uneven moments, and is apt to go into the Judd Apatow “dirty laugh” mode (he’s the producer), “The Five-Year Engagement” succeeds because it was unafraid to explore what modern couples go through in setting up – and settling – on the monster decision that is called marriage. It’s about dealing with the other person that will be standing next to you at the ceremony, rather than the trappings of preparing the ceremony itself, which was again surprising considering the title. Jason Segal co-wrote the script with director Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), and they were unafraid to take it into black comedy territory.

Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) live in San Francisco, and have been dating exactly one year, having met on New Year’s Eve. As they are driving to a party and celebrating that exact anniversary, Tom makes the marriage proposal to Violet, and she accepts. This brings their two families together, which includes Tom’s busybody Dad and Mom (David Paymer and Mimi Kennedy), Violet’s British roots in her divorced parents (Jim Piddock and Jacki Weaver), her wild-eyed sister Suzie (Alison Brie) and Tom’s co-worker and best friend Alex (Chris Pratt). The engagement party includes the emotionally inappropriate toasts, and the couple is on their way.

Or are they? Alex and Suzie hook up at the engagement party, and an unexpected pregnancy gets them married before Tom and Violet. Another wrench is thrown when Violet gets into a desired graduate program in Michigan, and the couple decides to move there and delay the marriage even longer. Tom was an up-and-coming chef in San Francisco, and is forced to take a lower position in Ann Arbor. These circumstances, plus Violet’s work with the head of her graduate program (Rhys Ifan) begin a downward spiral that not only lengthens the process of engagement, but threatens the couple themselves.

“he Five-Year Engagement” opens everywhere on April 27th. Featuring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Jim Piddock, David Paymer, Mimi Kennedy, Rhys Ifan, Brian Posehn and Chris Parnell. Screenplay by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller. Directed by Nicholas Stoller. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Five-Year Engagement”

The Happy Couple: Jason Segel (Tom) and Emily Blunt (Violet) in ‘The Five-Year Engagement’
The Happy Couple: Jason Segel (Tom) and Emily Blunt (Violet) in ‘The Five-Year Engagement’
Photo credit: Glen Wilson for © 2012 Universal Studios

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Five-Year Engagement”

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