The Five Year Engagement is written, produced by and stars How I Met Your Mother star Jason Segel. After his tour de force on the Muppets franchise and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, how can he better himself? Well, to be honest, compared to those two films, he doesn't.
However what you have here is a funny, entertaining, well conceived rom-com directed by Nicholas Stoller (who re-teams with Segel after Forgetting Sarah Marshall). What's good is the film is genuinely funny and heartwarming without overindulging in the romance. This film takes a fresh take on the rom-com genre – this story starts where most films of the genre end. The film starts with boy gets girl. What is great is the film concentrates on the period after the honeymoon of a relationship – they are a couple who have lived together for years; we see the real problems that arrive in the first years of a real relationship – from money, jobs, self worth, family, children and of course trust.
Segel gives a solid performance as one of the two central characters, as does Emily Blunt. What’s nice here is you believe in the couple’s relationship; you can really see them as a couple. The supporting performances are great here as well, especially Chris Pratt as Alex (Jason Segel's on-screen best friend)– he plays an egotistical, vulgar manchild. However, by the end of the five years, he's grown into a well-adjusted family man. In fairness, that’s what is great about this film – everyone changes over a five year period; it's the truth of life that people change and change again.
The drama isn’t just centred solely on the central couple – the story is their world, their families, their friends, their jobs. This brings a much greater story experience for us, the viewer, when watching the events unfold.
What’s bad, you say? Well there is a very surreal middle act where Segel's character loses himself in what seems to be a depressive state; this is very strange and doesn’t really fit stylistically within the whole film’s style and feels a little indulgent on the star’s part. Also, it’s way too long a film for a rom-com, running at 124 minutes- you could easily shave 10-20 minutes of this running time and still bring home the film without losing anything that’s needed for the story.
Saying that, the film is a solid date movie and, more importantly it’s a solid purchase for your DVD shelf. I would genuinely encourage you to give this a watch, it’s a very enjoyable night out and an honest relationship story.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5