May. 02, 2012 - Issue #863: Cold Specks
The Five-Year Engagement
A comedy of procrastination, The Five-Year Engagement gradually slips from awkward-funny moments to some droll dawdling along. But, while overstaying its welcome by about half-an-hour, it becomes clearer this is another tale of bourgeois-white-girl-and-boy-who-can't-quite-commit, spiffily dressed up with some funnier lines and more relaxed moments than its romcom competitors.
After Violet (Emily Blunt) gets a psychology post-doc in Michigan, fiancé Tom (Jason Segel) has to keep putting off their marriage. But why, really? Because, like a lot of Judd Apatow productions, this is a comic essay about some mark or ritual of maturity (virginity/commitment/marriage) where adults can't quite grow up even as they lapse into "honest" outbursts of sexual language or find themselves in "adult" situations.
The movie's charm eventually wears off. Violet's academic experience is basically cartoonish (her Homer-Simpson-level project only makes her seem witless even as the plot pretends her career's a serious concern). The third-act split-up seems even more formulaic when his new girlfriend's a young-20s caricature. By the time of its overanticipated ending, the movie's an unintentional disbeliever in marriage—if these two hapless kidults tie the knot just to stay together and force themselves to grow up, there's no point to engage us at all.
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
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