Movie review: The Five-Year Engagement
According to this movie, your fiancee may not like what it says about you, especially if she’s a behavioral psychologist. But can munching an old bear claw really prevent wedding bells? The Five-Year Engagement analyzes one couple’s amusing half-decade journey to marital bliss.
Engagements come in many lengths and this five-year one is a testament to how difficult it is to make a relationship work. But when we meet Tom and Violet, played by Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, they seem perfect for each other. They meet at a costume party -- he’s dressed as a super-bunny and she as a dead ringer for Princess Di (who knew?). Given that he’s cute and likes to cook, she’s pretty and bookish, there’s little keeping them from falling in love. But The Five-Year Engagement isn’t about falling in love, after all, that’s the easy part. Instead the film is about staying together, which we all know is easier said than done. Fortunately for us, the film provides many hilarious obstacles to this young couple. The first being Violet’s acceptance into the University of Michigan to do her post-doctoral work. It’s a big departure from trendy San Francisco and Tom’s dream of running his own hipster restaurant, but love makes him follow his darling Violet to the icy mid-west.
While Violet blooms around her Freud-fancying colleagues and enjoys running experiments with doughnuts and test-subjects with low impulse control, Tom wilts. But this is where the real comedy starts. Tom does his best to fit in and befriends Bill, played uproariously by Chris Parnell (SNL). Bill is a house husband who enjoys hunting and manages to find time to knit. Yes, as in knitting those embarrassing holiday-themed sweaters your grandma wears -- but you also get the feeling that Bill may want more from Tom than just a hunting buddy. Parnell is fabulous at making you feel giddily uncomfortable, even if you’re not sure why. But Tom has bigger problems than Bill, especially when he discovers Violet kissed her boss Winton, played by a smarmy Rhys Ifans.
The Five-Year Engagement provides many giggles and even hearty laughter. Segel and Blunt have great comedic talents and you’ll particularly love watching them engage with Violet’s sister Suzie, played by Alison Brie and Tom’s insensitive chef buddy Alex, played by the doltish but lovable Chris Pratt. My favorite character in the film is the infantile Audrey, played pitch-perfectly by Dakota Johnson, a party girl who just can’t get enough sex, food or Bollywood dancing.
Bottom line: This movie is a fun relationship romp filled with funny, original characters that will have you grateful the couple took so long to get to the wedding altar.