Stop Trying to Find the Most Perfect Cookie Ever, Just Pick One Up and TAKE A BITE!!!

The Five Year Engagement (2012)
A Review by Ben Hunter
3½ Out of 5 Stars
April 27, 2012

What do you get when you cross a simple, run of the mill, love story, throw in your regular, everyday comedy of a romantic nature, but spice it up a bit with some raunchy, Judd Apatow humor?  Well, throw in some mixed messages with the marketing of this product you’re making and you get a more romantic version of today’s new dirty, raunchy, comedic trend in cinema.

The Five-Year Engagement is the new comedy from the filmmaker duo of Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel.  After the two have had success with such films as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek, and The Muppets, the two have now embarked on their next voyage.  Romance seems to be an underlying theme with these two as this next film is no different and is in fact the genre. 

We follow a couple Tom & Violet (Jason Segel & Emily Blunt), on the journey they take throughout their engagement, which hopefully will to marriage.  They get engaged in San Francisco and then Violet finally gets accepted into a graduate program for her psychological studies in Michigan.  So do they leave their family and friends to pursue Violet’s career and post pone the wedding?  This leads to another postponement and another postponement and another.  Tom has put off a lot of events he would like to set in motion with his life to help Violet with hers.  Violet just wants Tom to communicate as she feels he’s holding back his true feelings to keep hers happy with this amazing career endeavor.  So the two fight to keep their relationship together and struggle to keep their lives in one piece. 

I REALLY enjoyed the performances of the supporting roles of Alison Brie and Chris Pratt, the sister and best friend of the lead roles.  Both of them just raised their status of credible actors in Hollywood.  People won’t just know Alison Brie primarily as Trudy on Mad Men (television show); and Chris Pratt as Anna Faris’ husband or “that guy from Parks and Recreation” (television show).  Both have significant scenes that are detrimental to the furthering of the story and the aid of our lead characters on their journey towards happiness in life. 

I really like the message that this film delivers, stop waiting for everything to be perfect in your life before you partake of it.  Stop gathering up all the possible cookies you could eat and just take a bite!  It’s good to have a plan, it’s good to have structure and make sure you’re not walking into craziness.  But sometimes, a lot of the time, that just holds you back from the experiences you could be having that open your eyes to who you are and get you to start living.  The message of this movie is very strong and this is a positive message viewers will be leaving the theater with, laughing all the way.

I just don’t think that message is sufficiently delivered, primarily with the marketing.  The movie was filmed in that classic, sophisticated romantic comedy film look; not high definition like all of today’s raunchy, dirty, comedies.  This movie had the look of sophisticated, intellectual comedy straight out of Britain starring English actor Hugh Grant.  Emily Blunt is English but she doesn’t give off that vibe in my opinion with her lifestyle, marrying an American actor/filmmaker, her body of work, etc.  So throw that in with the misleading artwork of the movie’s posters (it’s key art).  The campaign is subtle as to what this movie is about, however, the title is very clear so it kind of makes up for any slack in the marketing.

The movie itself I feel got caught up in the mixed messages of the marketing.  On the surface it looks like a regular, run of the mill, romantic comedy.  But it does make clear that it’s “From the Producer of Bridesmaids” (Judd Apatow).  So your average person knows that to be a raunchy, dirty, non-romantic comedy, type of movie.  This movie is indeed a romantic comedy, but with that Bridesmaids, dirty comedy style sprinkled throughout. The film’s raunchiness, as funny as it is, does come across as out of place and a bit random in an overall sense and feeling the movie gives on the surface.

So I feel that’s why it didn’t blow me away as amazing.  It doesn’t connect 100%, it’s in the middle, but it is funny so it’s a fun experience, so it doesn’t matter that much.  Will it stand out from other films in the family it’s in?  Probably not; will it stand the test of time?  Definitely not; but it serves its purpose and people will have a good time when they experience it in the theater or at home, walking away happy and happiness is something we all can vibe to. 

This movie isn’t perfect, and it’s not trying to be either.  But it does do its job, in just trying to make you … happy!

The Five-Year Engagement
Comedy, 124 Minutes, R
Written by: Nicholas Stoller & Jason Segel
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Alison Brie, and Chris Pratt

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