“The Five-Year Engagement”
- directed by
- Nicholas Stoller
- and starring
- Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt
The thing about college is that everyone you meet is in basically at same stage in life. So relationships are easy. All you have to do is meet someone you’re mutually attracted to, and spend time with that person. Then you graduate, and it gets harder. “The Five-Year Engagement” is about what happens to relationships out there in the real world. It’s not enough to love each other; you have to figure out a way to make a life together.
In the movie, Jason Segel plays Tom, an L.A. chef who proposes to his girlfriend Violet (Emily Blunt). They start planning the wedding, but then Violet doesn’t get the job at UC Berkeley she was hoping for, instead being offered a two-year position at the University of Michigan. Tom agrees to relocate with her, and they put off the wedding until they get settled.
The problem is, there are a lot less opportunities for a chef in Michigan than in L.A., forcing Tom to take a job at a sandwich shop and accept a role as a glorified house spouse. Plus, let’s face it: Michigan is cold. Despite his best intentions, Tom starts to resent the move, and his unhappiness starts to put more and more strain on the couple’s relationship as the wedding is put off indefinitely.
“The Five-Year Engagement” is first and foremost a comedy, and there are plenty of silly hijinks to keep it light. At one point Violet and her sister Suzie (Alison Brie of “Community”) are trying to have a serious conversation about marriage in front of Suzie’s kids, so they do the whole thing in voices as Elmo and the Cookie Monster. It’s genuinely hilarious. But at the heart of the movie are some serious issues. How much is it appropriate to sacrifice one’s career for love, or vice versa? How sure do you have to be that a relationship will last before you agree to get married? Are there times when loving someone just isn’t enough?
Jason Segel takes on a familiar role as a woobie—just like in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” you want to give him a big hug and tell him everything will be okay. Emily Blunt is charmingly British. And if the movie doesn’t quite come up with any satisfactory answers to questions about love and life, well, it’s a comedy and it doesn’t have to. For anyone graduating in a few weeks and trying to figure out how to carry a relationship over into the real world, “The Five-Year Engagement” is probably worth a watch.