Friday, April 27, 2012
Review of THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT (2012)
- Rated R for sexual content, and language throughout.
- Starring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans
- Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
- Directed by Nicholas Stoller
- Running time: 2hrs 4min (?!?)
From the creators of the acclaimed raunchy comedy FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL comes another raunchy comedy about Tom and Violet (Jason Segel and Emily Blunt), a couple who get engaged and keep stalling the wedding from actually happening.
We see Tom and Violet meet at a New Year's eve party (dressed up as Princess Diana and Super Bunny) and the two awkwardly hit it off. After one year, they get engaged (awkwardly, or course). Then it's five years of misery. During this time, Tom gives up his dream job of being a head chef at a sea food restaurant in L.A. so Violet can pursue a Psychology job at a Michigan University, which leaves him slowly growing unhappy. Violet becomes a little too close to her boss (Rhys Ifans), Tom's jerky best friend marries Violets sister when he gets her pregnant, and Violet's job becomes permanent rather than the 2 years it was supposed to be. All of this causes major strain on the relationship. Will they survive?
The answer is actually another question: Who cares? Both Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are very talented and have some highlighted comedic moments throughout the film, but these two characters clearly don't belong together. It's hard to root for a couple who are an obvious non-match. Sure, opposites attract, and I've seen that formula work before, but the chemistry is just not there. I think it's due more to the writing the acting. There are funny moments though. Like when Violet gets shot with n crossbow by her 4 year old niece, or when Violet and her sister have a serious argument in front of a kid using the voices of Elmo and Cookie Monster (best scene in the movie). I also liked Dakota Johnson (who looked so much like Jess Weixler, that I was trying to convince my friend sitting next to me that it was "the chick from TEETH"). Her scenes involved some rough sex gags that taught me one thing... I want to have sex with Dakota Johnson.
But the main problem with this movie is the same problem I had with the overrated BRIDESMAIDS. It's over 2 hours long! There are too many scenes that could have been left on the cutting room floor, as they serve no purpose to the story. They're there for cheap gags, and most of them just feel improvised. It's that awkward humor that we're supposed to think is HILARIOUS!. It's not. It's just awkward. Also, EVERY SINGLE supporting character is quirky, whether it's the main character's parents, Violet's co-workers, or Tom's "Melissa McCarthy-like" boss... they're all wacky! Sheesh! Chris Pratt is more annoying than funny as Tom's douchebag best friend. He's such a dick that it seemed like the only way that they would ever be friends was if a screenwriter wrote it in that way, because audiences love asshole friends.
Now, I liked the ending. I found it to be quite clever and refreshing. And there were some funny scenes sporadically during the running time, but it's wildy uneven. The plot is pretty thin as it's strung together with unrelated (sometimes) humorous sequences. People who just like to laugh, and don't really need to have a structured story (I don't really need it either, but if they are trying to have a structure like they are here, than it should feel structured), then this might fit the bill. But I need something more.
** (out of ****)