Movie Review: ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ stays away from the usual-to-get laughs

By Nathan Gordon | ng312310@ohiou.edu | @GordonRises
The Five-Year Engagement | Directed by Nicholas Stoller | Rated R


First Words

When I see the combination of Nicholas Stoller as director, Jason Segel as lead actor and writer, and Judd Apatow as producer, I instantly have an idea of how the movie will play out (at least from a comedic perspective). As the movie’s poster tries to hint at, I assume I’m going to see a movie with a similar type of humor and story as Bridesmaids.

Well I was wrong, but sometimes it’s okay to be wrong.

Plot

After Tom (Jason Segel) proposes to his girlfriend, Violet (Emily Blunt), the couple’s wedding planning gets put on hold after Violet receives a job at the University of Michigan. Tom agrees to give up his blossoming career as a chef in San Diego to follow his fiancé to Michigan until the jobs duration is over. As the couple begins their new life with a wedding looking bleaker as each day passes, tension builds between them, leaving them wondering if they will ever get married.

Positives

No, this movie is no Bridesmaids, but The Five-Year Engagement gives you a reason to laugh throughout. The film takes a different approach when compared to recent R-rated comedies when it comes to its humor. Yes, it still had its share of raunchy jokes but the overall tone of the humor felt like it wanted to get laughs in ways that different people with different tastes would all find funny. The cast is full of actors willing to take turns bringing the laughs, whether it be from Segel to Chris Pratt (Alex) or even from Chris Parnell (Bill).

The Five-Year Engagement did a great job ending on a high note. Although the film is, unfortunately, very predictable, the filmmakers were able to add a spin to it with a cool idea. It’s not the most shocking ending ever, but just a simple idea that completely worked.

Negatives

With a movie being named The Five-Year Engagement, you would think time change would be something that is easily noticed. That’s not the case here. There is no heads-up that the film moved forward in time. You have to wait a little into a scene to notice that the film is now in a different year. From the way the characters act and, for the most part, look, you wouldn’t know that a year or two has passed from the previous scene.

Although the film is funny throughout, the level of humor begins to drop as it gets closer to ending and there isn’t that one scene you will walk out talking about how funny it was. The film begins to drag because the humor drops off at the end, leaving me wondering if there is a way they can make the films 2-hour running time a little shorter.

Other issues I have with the film are how it approached parts of its storyline. The movie should have paid more attention to more specific problems that could add problems for a couple in an engagement that long. Also, Kevin Hart was underused. If he was given more screen time and opportunities to show his comedic abilities, the movie might have had that memorable funny scene. It’s just hard to go from seeing how he was in Think Like A Man just a week ago to see how he was in this movie.

Last Words

The team behind The Five-Year Engagement creates a bit of a surprise with some elements they threw in this film, most notably being the tone brought to the humor. While that was successfully implemented, other elements of the film were not properly handled. This movie is still able to do what comedy is supposed to do, though, and that is bringing plenty of laughs.

One more thing I must quickly mention, if you’re a fan of NBC’s Thursday night lineup, this cast might include a few bright spots.

RATING: 3/5

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