'Five-Year Engagement' is several years too long
A review of the cute but long-winded romantic comedy "The Five-Year Engagement," starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.
Seattle Times movie critic
'The Five-Year Engagement,' with Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Rhys Ifans, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie. Directed by Nicholas Stoller, from a screenplay by Segel and Stoller. 124 minutes. Rated R for sexual content and language throughout. Several theaters.
Nicholas Stoller's romantic comedy "The Five-Year Engagement" is one of those movies that you badly want to like much more than you actually do. It stars Jason Segel, that puppy-eyed Muppet of a man, and the always-enchanting Emily Blunt as Tom and Violet, an engaged couple who seem believably and happily in love. It lets us spend two hours in the company of two characters we genuinely like and root for. And, just to tip things over the edge, it features a scene in which Blunt and Alison Brie (as Violet's sister Suzie) have a meaningful conversation while impersonating Cookie Monster and Elmo. (I've never really thought of a cookie as a metaphor for marriage, but it works.)
This should be more than enough adorableness for one movie, no? Unfortunately, "The Five-Year Engagement" squanders its charms by dragging out Tom and Violet's happy ending for what seems like much longer than five years. (Why does every movie breathed upon by Judd Apatow — he's a producer here — feel too long?) Its first 10 minutes (the proposal) and its last 10 minutes (you can guess) are perfect; but what's in between feels stretched-out and contrived, as Tom and Violet move to another city, deal with depression, meet other people, cope with their careers (he's a chef, she's a grad student in social psychology) and experiment with different hairstyles.
Funny actors pop up in supporting roles — Chris Parnell, Mindy Kaling, Rhys Ifans — but the movie never seems to be going anywhere in particular, just jumping over required hurdles to get to the faraway finish line. It's refreshing to see a rom-com focusing on a grown-up relationship rather than gross-out jokes, but you just want to tell these two nice people to get married already — we can tell that they're meant to live happily ever after.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org