The Five-Year Engagement. I love Jason Segal. And when he was pairing up with Nicholas Stoller who directed Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I was really excited. There were definite amazing moments in this film and a stellar ensemble for supporting characters, but does the whole film come together perfectly in the end?
Here’s the basic gist. Jason Segal and Emily Blunt have been dating for a year when we join them at the beginning of the movie. He proposes and the rest of the movie follows their five-year engagement. It’s a tumultuous journey and one that’s wrought with horrible accidents and quite a bit of tragedy.
Jason Segal on his own does the same magic he’s pulled before in films like I Love You Man, The Muppets, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Emily Blunt also does a decent job but I just don’t buy their chemistry. My instincts were telling me that they shouldn’t be together so everytime the film tried to get me to root for their success, I found myself conflicted. But independently of each other, they both have some great moments.
The star of the show was really the ensemble cast of supporting characters. While Segal and Blunt did their usual schict, some up-and-comers got a chance to shine. NBC’s Thursday night lineup made up the meat of the supporting cast, including Chris Pratt (Andy from Parks and Recreation), Mindy Kaling (Kelly from The Office), Alison Brie (Annie from Community), and Chris Parnell (Dr. Spaceman from 30 Rock). Chris Pratt singlehandedly delivers a majority of the film’s big laughs, though he’s pretty much a clone of his Parks and Recreation character (but I love Andy so I didn’t mind).
What didn’t work?
There are a few issues that stopped me from really enjoying this movie. The movie clocks in at over 2 hours long, which is a little too long for a comedy like this. You can feel this length. People all around me were checking the time as we neared 2 hours. The movie dragged in places and I found myself just wanting them to get married or get out. Partially, this may have been due to the lack of chemistry between Blunt and Segal. Taking them out of the picture, the movie felt like a series of skits with this absurd cast of strange Michigan locals. These skits would be hilarious, but we keep getting hit in the face with Segal and Blunt’s issues. It wasn’t enjoyable for a majority of the meat of the movie. The ending was close to redeeming everything we went through, but I still found myself looking back at the middle chunk of the movie and regretting it.
I don’t know if I’m explaining this well. It’s one of those things you just feel. A lot of people enjoyed it, I could hear them laughing, but there were a lot of moments for me where it felt forced and the conflict felt artificial. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was the fact that part of the screen was out of focus and it was bugging me the whole time or that the speakers were too quiet and so lines would be lost because of the audience laughing. Maybe my conditions affected how I enjoyed the movie.
It was a decent film. Nowhere near Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Knocked Up. Maybe it’s missing the Paul Rudd factor. I wouldn’t waste money seeing it in theaters, as it’ll be just as good (if not better) in the comfort of your own home. Segal and Blunt tread familiar ground but the supporting cast provides the real comedic substance.