“The Five-Year Engagement,” starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, doesn’t adhere to the same predictable romantic-comedy formula audiences are used to seeing. It doesn’t open with a comedic meet-cute, and there’s no quirky first date: The film follows Violet Barnes (Blunt) and Tom Solomon (Segel) after they’re already engaged.
When we meet the characters, their hurdle is how to survive a long engagement due to Violet’s budding postdoctoral career.
While some critics believe the movie is a half-hour too long, most agree that the talented cast of comedians brings the honest, insightful script to life. While “Five-Year Engagement” may not be the “Bridesmaids” of 2012, the reviews suggest the film will be a weekend hit.
“The first 45 minutes or so of ’The Five-Year Engagement,’ which Segel wrote with director Nicholas Stoller (’Get Him to the Greek’), pop and zing with both comic fizz and refreshing authenticity. Set to a delicious soundtrack dominated by Van Morrison standards, Tom’s and Violet’s lives feel more real than the usual Hollywood confections.”
— Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
“This Judd Apatow-produced romantic comedy bares familiar Apatow markings — bawdy humor, crass jokes, coarse language — but steers clear of gross-out gags. Sweetness wins out in the end, and the film gets by on the charm of its leads and a stellar supporting cast, led by ’Parks and Recreation’s’ Chris Pratt.” — Adam Graham, Detroit News
“This seems like another breakthrough for Blunt, who demonstrates an ample gift for physical comedy. She and Segel make an inspired team.”
— Lou Lumenick, New York Post
“Alison Brie … with a British accent and a high-octane goofiness that will astonish those who know her best as Trudy Campbell on ’Mad Men’ pretty much steals the whole movie as Violet’s fertile, impulsive sister.” — A.O. Scott, New York Times
“Every scene in ’The Five-Year Engagement’ — virtually every part of every scene — is carefully crafted to introduce an original comic situation, work it and build on it. The movie is a precision instrument with no parts jammed together, just everything smooth and functioning. Take a moment to notice the actual work going on here, and you’ll be impressed at the skill. Even then, you’ll be dragged back into the picture’s spell in less than a minute. … The screenplay doesn’t pump up the stakes; it makes nothing extreme. These are just two people, and this is the drama of the everyday. The filmmakers trust that you’ll be interested in what happens to the couple, and in return they keep it honest.” — Mike LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
The Final Word
“A scene, late in the film, with [Violet and Suzie] trying to have an adult talk in front of Suzie’s kids is a laugh riot, mostly because Suzie speaks in the voice of Elmo while Violet does Cookie Monster.
OK, you have to be there, but the moment is memorably hilarious. ’The Five-Year Engagement’ is like that, moving in fits and starts, but building a rooting interest in its characters that slaps a goofy smile on your face and keeps it there.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Five-Year Engagement.”
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