The Five-Year Engagement

Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Lauren Weedman, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer, Jacki Weaver, Jim Piddock, and Eric Scott-Cooper

With 2012 marking its 100th anniversary, Universal Pictures has got a great line-up of movies this year, especially in the comedy department.  Ted and This Is 40 are on the way later this year from Universal.  For now, we've got The Five-Year Engagement, a wedding-themed comedy that will serve as part of the preamble to the summer blockbuster season.  It's a real shame that Bridesmaids came out a year before their centennial though.  That game-changing flick will cast a shadow over any other comedy the studio releases this year.  Countless comparisons are inevitable.  I might as well break the ice and start making the Bridesmaids comparisons with this first big comedy The Five-Year Engagement.

Dressed as Super Bunny and Princess Diana respectively, Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) meet at a costume party, and sparks fly.  Several years later, Tom has concocted a plan to propose to Violet.  Naturally almost everything goes awry, but she says yes.  Before they get married, they want to get their careers squared away.  While they dawdle, grandparents start dropping off like flies.  Also, Violet's sister Suzie (Alison Brie) marries Tom's best friend Alex (Chris Pratt) and starts a family.

Tom is a chef and an aspiring restaurant owner, while Violet is working to become a professor at Berkeley.  Things are going well for Tom's career as a cook at the Clam Bar.  Violet, however, gets rejected by Berkeley.  Because of this, she puts in an application at the University of Michigan and gets admitted.  Upon her acceptance, the two decide to move to Michigan where Violet can jumpstart her career, while Tom's career will basically be martyred.  With Tom unhappy about his lot in life and Violet unhappy about Tom being unhappy, the two lovers continually put off their marriage and put their relationship in ever-growing jeopardy.

The Five-Year Engagement is a fun, lighthearted film.  Emily Blunt certainly carries the romance in this rom com, while Jason Segel brings most of the laughs.  With a runtime of more than two hours, you'll get a little bit of everything from our two stars and their strong supporting cast.  You'll get lots of laughs, plenty of romance, and impressive impersonations of Sesame Street characters.  You’ll even get a little dose of wild and crazy comedian Kevin Hart as University of Michigan researcher Doug.  Even though it’s a little long, the movie is thoroughly entertaining. 

Though The Five-Year Engagement is nowhere near Bridesmaids in terms of hilarity, there is one key similarity between the two comedies.  Both films feature breakout performances from Mad Men cast members.  Last year, Jon Hamm broke out of his stolid shell in Bridesmaids.  This year, it's Alison Brie.  The only difference is that she has some comedic experience from the NBC show Community, and that certainly helps here.  Brie is hilarious throughout movie.  Whether trying to hide the fact that she slept with her future brother-in-law’s best friend or breaking out her Cookie Monster voice years later in reflection, she consistently delivers big laughs whenever she's on screen.

The Five-Year Engagement is definitely enjoyable, but it drags on a little at the end.  The trappings of the film being a romance are inevitable.  They have to wrap the story up in a nice, neat little package.  Personally, I was ready to take a hike after the Elmo and Cookie Monster impersonations, but that's just me.  Nonetheless, this romantic comedy is a good way to kick off the celebration of Universal's centennial.  The Five-Year Engagement gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Grab a couple of glasses of Sauvignon Blanc for this one.  Look for plenty of movie references throughout the movie as well (e.g. Blood Diamond, Saving Private Ryan, and Ratatouille).