A five-year engagement seems like an eternity all on its own, so you'd think a nice, condensed two-hour version of one would at least have the advantage of picking around all the tedious, boring bits. You'd think.
Despite its 124-minute run time, "The Five-Year Engagement" has all of the length (or at least it feels like it) as the real thing, and -- just like it would play out in real life -- is both funny and kind of sad to watch for those who aren't involved. It follows groom-to-be Tom (Jason Segel) and his fiancee, Violet (Emily Blunt) as they face every conceivable hurdle and misstep imaginable. The setbacks run the gamut from the usual out-of-relationship temptations to people dying (Don't worry, they were sacrificed for a punchline, so it's OK.).
The movie picks up right where a movie about an engagement should -- at the proposal. There's the obligatory engagement party with all the usual suspects (over-emotional sister of the bride, idiosyncratic parents, inappropriate friend of the groom, and so on). And then, the fun starts.
Violet gets a job in Michigan and the couple opt to relocate from San Francisco (and postpone nuptial planning). Then, her stay is extended. The relationship is tested by Tom's lack of career prospects and temptations on both sides, and this is just what I can recall off the top of my head.
Nevertheless, "The Five-Year Engagement" can't help but be charming. Segel and Blunt's chemistry is a bit flat, but it's endearing enough to root for. And being piloted by writer Segel and producer Judd Apatow, it can't help but be over-the-top in terms of laughs. This is both an asset and a hindrance for the movie, which delivers legitimately laugh-out-loud moments mixed in with an unfortunate clutter of characters and side-scenes meant only for cheap giggles.
All in all, "The Five-Year Engagement" is hit and miss. It's busy and drawn out, but it's also so gosh darn cute audiences will be hard-pressed to hate it. Wait and rent it if you can, but you won't end up kicking yourself if you cave and see it in theaters.
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