You’ve Gotta Keep ’Em Separated

30 Apr

In the new film The Five-Year Engagement, Jason Segel plays Tom, the kind of nice-guy boyfriend that most women would love to find.

Actually, he’s a bit too nice, and a bit too in love with his fiancée, Violet (Emily Blunt), and that makes him a bit of a pushover, which is why Tom ends up quitting his job as a chef in San Francisco, leaving his brother and family behind, delaying his wedding, and moving with Violet to Michigan, where she’s been accepted into a two-year post-doctorate program.

Awwww … how sweet of him.

But when Violet’s position gets extended, Tom’s life becomes even more of a shred of what it once was, and soon these two lovebirds are struggling to stay together.

They’re not the only ones.

Segel and Blunt initially make an appealingly cute couple. They have some nice chemistry, and despite their almost too perfect relationship, it’s believable that these two are actually in love.

Blunt generally remains likable throughout, but Segel is playing such a weak character that you eventually grow tired of his lack of drive. I mean, I can become complacent too, but come on.

This guy is a loser. After a while, I just wanted Tom to grow a pair, move back to San Fran, and get a life of his own (one that doesn’t involve Chris Parnell’s househusband or Brian Posehn’s pickle-obsessed friend), so he could prove just how strong this relationship really was.

That would have made this movie a bit more like Going the Distance, the cute Drew Barrymore–Justin Long rom com from a couple years back that involved the core couple staying together, even though they are separated and carrying on lives in different cities.

If that scenario was mirrored here, maybe we’d get more of Community’s Alison Brie as Violet’s sister (yes, British accent and all). She and Parks and Recreation‘s Chris Pratt are a lot of fun, and I wish there was more of them. (I also wish Mindy Kaling had funnier dialogue, but that’s another story.)

The Five-Year Engagement instead drags Segel down with it — especially odd, given that he co-wrote the film. Midway through, the laughs become almost nonexistent, the plot becomes painful, Segel becomes a crazy unattractive woodsman, and eventually, the film just becomes way too long.

At one point I looked at my watch and couldn’t believe there was an entire half hour still to go.

That everything gets tied up at the end in sweet and satisfying fashion is nice (as is the Van Morrison soundtrack throughout the film), but by then, you’ve begun to question whether you even want these two to be together.

Will Tom and Violet’s marriage succeed? If their lifetime together doesn’t feel like The Five-Year Engagement feels like it’s five years long, then maybe they have a shot.

I’m giving this movie a B.

Have you seen The Five-Year Engagement? What did you think?

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