Movie Review: ‘The Five-Year Engagement’

A couple repeatedly postpones their engagement after careers and differing ambitions complicate their relationship’s future.

Beginning where most romantic comedies end, the new film from director Nicholas Stoller, producer Judd Apatow (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) and Rodney Rothman (“Get Him to the Greek”) looks at what happens when an engaged couple, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, keeps getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle.

By all accounts, Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt) are destined for their happily ever after. As a sous chef at an upscale San Francisco restaurant, Tom is at the apex of modernist cooking and is ripe for a promotion. Academia is Violet’s life, and she’s close to securing a postdoctoral assignment in social psychology at UC Berkeley, her dream University. Shortly after their engagement, a year after their initial meeting at a New Year Eve’s party, Violet discovers she’s been accepted into psychology program at the University of Michigan. Because he knows how important the opportunity is to her, Tom packs in his job and a chance for promotion, postpones the wedding for a couple of years and moves with Violet to Michigan.

As expected, things don’t go quite so simply. Violet impresses her professor/mentor (Rhys Ifans) and is offered another years’ tenure. Tom, meanwhile, can’t find a job as good as the one he gave up and slumps into depression. As the wedding is repeatedly postponed, much to the chagrin of their respective families, audience are left to wonder if the engagement is, in fact, as far as these two will ever get.

Segel and Blunt certainly have a natural chemistry, but the movie draws most of its comedic energy from the large supporting cast, that includes Kevin Hart, who plays a grad student, Alison Bree who plays Violet’s sister, and Chris Pratt as Segel’s best friend.

This story about a couple who finds that, the longer their engagement lasts, the more potential problems they discover, and the harder it becomes for them to follow through on matrimony has heart, irreverent humor, snark and wit.

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