Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
Thor
8.25 out of 10

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement

Four Funerals and a Wedding

Rated: R Sexual content and language throughout
Release Date: April 27, 2012
Runtime:  2 hrs 4 mins

Director: Nicolas Stoller
Writers: Jason Segel, Nicolas Stoller
Cast: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Allison Brie, Mimi Kennedy, David Payer, Rhys Ifans, Kevin Hart


SYNOPSIS: A year after they met, Tom Solomon proposes marriage to Violet Barnes. As they try to prepare for their wedding, obstacles keep getting the way of their engagement.

REVIEW: Nicolas Stoller has been busy as of late, directing films like Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and performing writing duties for films including Yes Man and The Muppets. Partnering again with writer and actor Jason Segel (The Muppets), they both share writing credits for The Five-Year Engagement, while Stoller helms the film behind the monitors. 
In San Francisco in New Year's Eve, one year after they first met, sous chef Tom Solomon (Jason Segel, The Muppets) clumsily proposes to his academic girlfriend Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen). Now engaged, they start to plan their wedding. When Violet gets a 2-year post doc position at the University of Michigan Psychology Department run by Winton Childs (Rhys Ifans, Anonymous), Tom gives up his promising career to be with her near campus in Ann Arbor, as well as agreeing to postpone the wedding date until they get settled. One thing after another gets in the way of their wedding plans, forcing them to reschedule their reservations and reevaluate their relationship.

The Five-Year Engagement is a hilarious film with a sweet story along with it. Jason Segel has proven he can hang with the big boys with his comedy chops and writing skills. With 
The Muppets and Get Him to the Greek under his belt for his writing resume and CBS's How I Met Your Mother to hone his comedy chops, Segel is perched on the edge of romantic comedy stardom if The Five-Year Engagement does well. Emily Blunt, fresh off her romantic turn as Harriet in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Matt Damon's muse in The Adjustment Bureau, brings a gorgeous smile, a fine British accent, and her own sense of comedy and romance to her role as Violet. Segel and Blunt are center stage with all of the angst that wedding preparations can cause, but they are helped along the way by a  cadre of supporting cast that fill in the story nicely.Chris Pratt (Moneyball) plays Tom's goofball chef friend Alex who manages to say all the wrong and most inappropriate things in support of his friend. Violet's sister Suzie (Alison Brie, Scream 4) manages to beat Violet to the punch in most respects with funny results, and also manages to prepare a memorable engagement speech. Violet's post doc friends include masturbation obsessed Doug (Kevin Hart, Think Like A Man), gossipy Vaneetha (Mindy Kaling, No Strings Attached), and off-beat Ming (Randall Park, Larry Crowne) round out Violet's psychology ring under the tuteluge of Dr. Childs. Tom also has his own group of U of M friends, including sweater knitting Bill (Chris Parnell, 21 Jump Street) and sandwich shop pickle expert Tarquin (Brian Posehn, Sex Drive). Hart is a little understated compared to his Cedric role in Think Like A Man, Kaling is a clone of The Office's Kelly Kapoor, Parnell is a montage of several roles he has played in skits or other comedies, and Posehn is always a little weird. The real break-outs are Parks and Recreation's Chris Pratt recreating his moron role with great success, and Alison Brie tacking on an accent and adding great timing to her sisterly character. I guess Mad Men and Community have has a positive effect on her. And play special attention to her and Blunt's rendition of a coupe of Sesame Street characters.

In this tale, the comedy is better then the romance. Jason Segel knows how to work his way around the funny bone. Strange settings and props, including many parts of venison and the beast it comes from, make for silly situations. On the romantic side, Segel is indeed a capable actor but Blunt rules the roost with her smiles and skills. Segel and writer/director Stolling balance the dramatics and the funny digs in perfect harmony, with a slight leaning toward the gut-busting versus the eye-gushing.

The Five-Year Engagement is an obvious title for the Segel and Blunt film. It could have been called Four Funerals and a Wedding but I think that parody title was already taken. You will laugh out loud quite a bit, but may not shed the tear you want to for the typical romantic comedy. Overall, the story works, the actors excel at their craft, and the audience will be engaged for the 124 minute film. The time will not feel as long as a five-year engagement, but you wonder how it will ever work out in the end, if at all.

WORTH: Matinee or Rental


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