Last evening, I attended the screening with my lovely wife. I’ve been to a few sneak previews over the years, but not one in recent years when file sharing is as a rampant as it is. Everyone going in was searched to make sure we didn’t have any filming equipment and we were repeatedly told not to use cell phones during the screening or else risk being removed from the movie (something I wish they’d do for EVERY screening of a movie, sneak preview or not! Next, I will complain about young people getting on my lawn…)
So, without getting too spoilery, here are my thoughts on the movie….
Jason Segel and Nick Stoller, who gave us the romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, team up again for this one as writers. It’s the story of Violet (Emily Blount) and Tom (Segel), a couple of met at a New Year’s Eve Party, who celebrate their first dating anniversary by getting engaged. The two begin trying to plan the perfect wedding, only to see a series of unexpected life complications get in the way–Violet gets her dream job, Violet’s sister and Tom’s best friend hook up at an engagement party, get pregnant and throw a hasty but “perfect” wedding that Violet and Tom realize they’ll have a hard time competing with.
While it’s billed as a romantic comedy, don’t let that be a turn off for you if you’re a guy like me who tends to resist most romantic comedies. The Five Year Engagement is more from the school of Sarah Marshall or Love Actually than The Notebook (which is a running gag throughout the film) or just about any other romantic comedy film from a novel or short story or hastily plotted out note on a napkin from Nicholas Sparks. While most of the characters are broad, Segel and Stoller make them all interesting enough so that we’re (for the most part) laughing with them and they feel authentic.
And while Segel and Blount are good in the lead roles, it’s the duo of Alison Brie and Chris Pratt who steal the movie in their roles as the couple forced to get married before Tom and Violet can. One particularly funny scene has Brie and Blount discussing their current romantic and life predicaments in the voices of Elmo and Cookie Monster.
As a romantic comedy, The Five Year Engagement has just enough romance to keep those who enjoy that aspect of the movie happy and enough comedy (some of it quite rude and quite hilarious…the movie earns its R-rating) to keep those who enjoy that aspect happy as well. It’s a date movie that both parties won’t feel like they’re having to sit through something to make the other half of the couple happy (again, like let’s say The Notebook).
The movie hits theaters on April 27th, a week before the big summer season gears up. It might be a good way for the gentlemen to earn some romantic points with the ladies before The Avengers opens the next week.