The Five-Year Engagement – Segel and Blunt and a whole lot of other funny people

Wedding/marriage/couples comedies seem to be all the rage after Bridesmaids made it big and showed that comedies can be funny as well as emotional. The Five-Year Engagement follows the trend. Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller (who also directs) this is their third film collaboration after the excellent Forgetting Sarah Marshall (which Segel wrote and Stoller directed) and the nostalgic and too-cute-for-words The Muppets (written by both of them). Five-Year Engagement offers an emotionally mature, realistic and funny look at modern-day couples and all the messy parts in relationships, as well as the good.

When we first meet cute couple Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt), he is proposing to her on New Years Eve after they’ve been together for a year. Their engagement party comes soon after, complete with embarrassing parents and siblings, and soon they are happily planning for their big day. But no matter how organised they are, they can’t stop all the obstacles heading their way: other people’s weddings to compete with, deaths in the family, job opportunities and job losses. In fact, everything seems to be in the way of them walking down the aisle.

One aspect of the story that works well is the all too realistic problem of one half of the couple having to compromise for the other. This is handled realistically by Segel and Stoller, and it is refreshing to see the female character being the one who gets to put her career first. It is equally refreshing to see a female character who has been written so realistically, although this is also down to a brilliant performance by Emily Blunt (who needs to be put in an Oscar-worthy film pronto).  Segel also gives a great performance as the conflicted yet loving husband-to-be, but Blunt is the real gem in the film and grounds the more slapsticky and extreme jokes. The chemistry between Segel and Blunt also works perfectly – they banter off each other easily and feel very much like a real couple.

But the one main question that needs to be asked about The Five-Year Engagement is, is it funny? And the answer is: hell yes. It’s laugh out loud hilarious all the way through, due to not only Segel and Blunt, but also an amazing cast of supporting characters, mainly Chris Pratt as Tom’s obnoxious brother, Alison Brie as Violet’s whiny sister (bad British accent though), Rhys Ifans as a suave university professor, the amazing Jacki Weaver as Violet’s obnoxious mother, and millions of other tiny cameos from funny people like Chris Parnell, Mindy Kaling, Brian Posehn, Molly Shannon (although she’s literally in it for a second)…the list goes on. Basically you’ll be killing yourself all the way through the film thinking ‘What the hell have I seen them in before?’

The Five-Year Engagement is a film with not only a huge amount of laughs, but a big heart too and it tackles contemporary couple’s issues with fresh insight, a dose of sadness, and maturity (apart from when you’re laughing at a few of the gross out jokes…), which raises the film above forgettable comedy film levels. Another memorably winning film from the great comic pairing of Segel and Stoller.

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~ by square-eyed-geek on July 17, 2012.

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