Movie Review: The Five-Year Engagement

I love romcoms, and the key to a successful romcom are the leads (Grant/HepburnCrystal/Ryan, Hanks/Ryan, Grant/Roberts, Bullock/Pullman, Rogen/Heigl) and this movie benefits from having  a pair of brilliant performers, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.


They play Tom and Violet, a couple who get engaged after a year together. Tom is a chef and doing well for himself in San Francisco, but when psychology PhD grad Violet is offered a job in Michigan they move across the country for two years, leading them to delay their wedding and it turns out that his best friend, Alex (Chris Pratt) and her sister Suzie (Alison Brie) beat them up the aisle after hooking up and getting pregnant at their engagement party.

Violet quickly settles into her new job and thrives under the supervision of her boss, Winton (Rhys Ifans), but Tom struggles, feeling isolated and unmotivated by his new surroundings. When Violet’s contract is extended by a further two years the cracks in their relationship begin to show and Tom starts to unravel, with them growing apart.

Can they work through their issues and finally make it down the aisle?

I went into this movie with mixed expectations because I’d heard responses from both ends of the spectrum. So I was pleased to find that it was a rather sweet and funny little flick.

The plot is fairly simple, but well handled and as mentioned above the leads are fantastic, I’m a big fan of Segel who’s a great comedic talent and an ability to capture this kind of tightly wound manic energy under the surface while anchoring it with a kind of sweet, everyday Joe charm. And Blunt, who’s impressed me in more serious roles shows a real knack for comedy too.

Together they make Tom and Violet a fairly realistic couple, managing to create a sense of real connection and affection with each other and even as things unravel the characters maintain this wonderful chemistry and this romantic sap really felt that they belonged together.

Segel and Blunt- Realistic and sweet
Segel and Blunt- Realistic and sweet

The film’s theme seems to be that holding out for that 100% match and expecting everything to be hunky-dory and easy is ridiculous, and that the couple’s future depends on them being able to compromise and work through their issues with honesty and openness. Its a good thing to promote, and the film does it well, while still managing to be a thoroughly sweet movie and the warmth engendered by the leads manages to carry it through some of the more outlandish and overdone bits. The Hollywood-ized ending might have come across as twee but its executed with bags of charm and left me smiling.

The humour throughout the film is well done, especially the interplay between Violet’s colleagues creates some great moments while Tom’s descent into madness, while overdone at times is generally amusing.

And as a Welshman I quite liked the little scene where Ifans’ academic tries to explain his dog’s Welsh name (Gwyrth meaning miracle) and the rest of the characters struggle to pronounce it.

While Blunt and Segel deserve a lot of props they receive some great support from the rest of the cast, in particular the supporting couple played by Chris Pratt and Alison Brie. Pratt manages to be oddly likable as Tom’s oafish loud-mouth best friend, but the real revelation is Brie as Violet’s sister.

Brie and Pratt- brilliant in support
Brie and Pratt- brilliant in support

Brie does a fantastic job of nailing an English accent which is extremely similar to Blunt’s making their sisterhood seem plausible and she is a wonderfully funny performer, and a scene where she and Blunt’s characters argue in the voices of Elmo and the Cookie Monster is utterly hilarious and one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever seen.

Verdict: Great performances and chemistry between Segel and Blunt makes this a likable and sweet romcom, with some laugh out loud moments and leaves a nice warm feeling inside the audience. 7/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Five-Year Engagement

  1. Good review. It was a funny flick that felt about 30 minutes too long. I don’t why comedies feel the need to be so long and just rely on their own brand of comedy in a swift and mild 90 minutes or less.

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