The Five-Year Engagement
(MA) Universal DVD/BD
The Five-Year Engagement bills itself as a rom-com in reverse, beginning with Jason Segel’s Tom and Emily Blunt’s Violet hooking up at a New Year’s Eve party.
Despite an early engagement their wedding is constantly thwarted, while his far-less-organised friend Alex (Chris Pratt) and her ditsy sister Suzie (Alison Brie) meet, get married and have kids before the lovers have even sent out their “Save the date” cards.
When their relationship is threatened by an interloper in the shape of Rhys Ifans’ slimy Professor Childs, you’re genuinely anxious that they may not end up together after all.
Segel’s attempt to deliver the ins and outs of romantic woe from the perspective of the less-successful male half of the partnership is admirable. Likewise, Blunt gives Violet an intellectual edge that is a vast improvement on the hollow female stereotypes that often people these films.
Critically, however, Segel and Blunt lack chemistry; we are meant to believe that Tom and Violet are in the first flush of love and lust, and yet they roll around on their beds and couches like a pair of old friends. And scenes that may have appeared funny on paper (like having an emotional conversation in a Muppet voice) are just tedious and grating.
The conceit that, try as they might, they are not able to get to the church gets somewhat frustrating in the film’s two-hour run time — they are fully grown adults after all.
By positioning itself as a comedy, I’m afraid this film fails.