Monday, May 7, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement


Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Jacki Weaver
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Rating: R

Emily Blunt is a lucky woman. She’s a respectable, Oscar-nominated actress, married to John Krasinski, and most recently shares the screen (and many a smooch) with Jason Segel in their new film, “The Five-Year Engagement.” I was expecting the next “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days,” or perhaps the best rom-com of the 2010s, but instead got an honest portrayal of a couple torn between their own dreams, and their love for each other. Though cute and romantic in parts, it mostly asked the question, ‘how much are you willing to give up for love?’

It’s obvious from the start that Violet and Tom are soulmates. After falling in love at first sight at a New Year’s Eve party, they take that eventual next step and become engaged. The wedding planning comes to a halt when Violet is offered her dream job at the University of Michigan, and Tom chooses to quit his job as a sous chef at a prestigious San Francisco restaurant to be with her. He’s forced to start at the bottom, in this case, a sandwich shop (albeit a local fave) while Violet climbs the ranks at the University. The audience believes that their love is strong enough to withstand whatever life throws their way, but one year turns into two, and two years eventually turn into five, and things look grim for their relationship.

Though the film searched too hard for laughs in places, stand out supporting actors include Chris Pratt of “Parks & Recreation” fame (which apparently I need to start watching) and Jacki Weaver, who is always great (and type-cast) as kind of a creepy, over-bearing mother (see “Animal Kingdom” if you haven’t yet.) Chris Pratt plays Alex, Tom’s fellow sous chef – turned Executive Chef after Tom’s departure from San Francisco. This clown should not be allowed to run a kitchen, but perhaps it’s because his rendezvous with Violet’s sister at their engagement party turns his life upside down.

Tom’s unwillingness to admit his unhappiness is both noble and annoying. I t’s so obvious he misses his career and what he’s worked for his whole life, yet how could he ask Violet to give up her dream job? It really makes you wonder what you’d do in a similar situation; a dream job and a love that strong rarely come around. Violet even stands by Tom’s side when he becomes an avid hunter – avid being an understatement. Her guilt is obvious, too, but she’s unwilling to compromise her future.

Emily Blunt and Jason Segel have great on-screen chemistry – and they should, being that this is their third movie together. Emily is wonderful, and once again Jason melted my heart. (And fans of him in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" - ahem, you know the scene - get a similar view, but not X-rated this time.) Though the film was too long, it was heartfelt and it gave me hope for a love like theirs.

**Readers – I’m going out of the country for a bit, but don’t fret, I’m planning to bring back many reviews from Germany and Spain to share with you! Auf Wiedersehen / Adios!


2 comments:

  1. I think that asks the question, would it be such a problem if she was following him? I think it somewhat assumed that a woman should follow the man, just when a man does it, the woman is the career hungry one

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  2. Great point. And they almost poked fun at the fact that when he abandoned his career, he started planning the wedding - traditionally more of the woman's role! But I was glad that she didn't back down from her career goals. Thanks for commenting!

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