Sunday, September 16, 2012

Paragraph Movie Reviews: The Five-Year Engagement

If you don't have plans to see this movie, you can check the spoilers here and then come back.

The first half hour of this movie is quite funny and charming, as are the final 15 minutes and various points in between, but unfortunately, there are a solid 75 additional minutes to account for, and they're not so good. All the funniest parts were in the trailer (aside from some great seemingly spontaneous bits from Brian Posehn, Dakota Johnson and Chris Pratt), which gave the impression there would be plenty of laughs here, but three quarters of the film are the monotonous unraveling of the relationship between the two main characters, and not only is there little fun to be had, no truly profound statements on them or the nature of love, marriage, etc. really pop in to fill the void, at least not to the degree I think Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller were hoping they would when putting this story together. The premise is that Segel and Emily Blunt play a happy couple who get engaged in the opening moments then struggle through moving across country for the sake of her career, him being initially supportive then miserable, the problems they experience, and whether or not they can overcome them; I know it seems like I'm spoiling a lot here, but every turn is so predictable that I don't feel I am. You've got some talented actors involved and the script is serviceable, but this is a story so mundane that it's not something I really want to explore through a movie, particularly one that still zigs toward the occasional comedic bit as almost a safety net, in the process killing any dramatic flow it hoped to have. I don't want to see Segel playing a sad sack; it's not that he's not capable of it, but I'm just not interested in that. Blunt is more winning, but she can't carry the movie. Pratt and Alison Brie are the movie's best weapons as his best friend and her little sister who also get together, but they're kept away for most of it. Rhys Ifans is so spot on as a lecherous professor that it makes me uncomfortable. Mindy Kaling, Kevin Hart, Chris Parnell and Posehn are all underutilized. The central conceit, that there's this wedding they keep putting off and it has more to do with Blunt's commitment issues than anything else (she's a psych professor and there's a whole subplot as well about how her experiments shape her view of people that fell flat for me), seems just jammed in when they remember it. This movie had loads of potential and a really great cast, but ultimately, it just wasn't something I wanted to see.