Movie review – The art of waiting

2012-10-06 10:34

Film: The Five-Year Engagement (UIP)
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Featuring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Lauren Weedman
Rating: 7/10

Wow, there aren’t any toilet jokes in this film – and it’s co-written and directed by the blokes who created the diabolical Russell Brand vehicle Get Him to The Greek.

It’s unfair, though, to begin this review with director Nicholas Stoller and writer Jason Segel’s career low point.

After all, they are also the team who made the delightfully funny Forgetting Sarah Marshall and were probably fooled into making Get Him To the Greek because Brand’s awfulness was so well-balanced by Segel’s likeable everyman performance in Sarah Marshall.

The Five-Year Engagement is an often sweet, often quirky foray into romantic comedy that changes the genre by degrees.

The film begins with a proposal instead of ending with one, but that’s when things start to slide out of control. Segel is Tom Solomon, a star chef with a bright future in San Francisco.

Blunt is Violet Barnes, a psychology academic in search of work.

They are happy and planning a wedding, but it seems every time they get close to setting a date or picking a venue, a life-changing event comes along to trip up their plans.

First there’s an unexpected family wedding, then Violet gets a job offer in middle America.

This is where a lot of the film’s fun plays out as Tom tries to remake his career in the back of beyond while Violet starts to thrive.

Because I enjoyed this film so much, I was prepared to overlook the casual sexism that occasionally reared its ugly head.

At first a man following a woman for her career is lauded because it’s for love, but soon there are conversations about getting his manhood back.

If it were the other way around would the conversations go the same way?

Blunt, who made her Hollywood splash in The Devil Wears Prada, continues to prove her versatility and gets back in touch with her inner comic.

The leading lovers are ably supported by a trio of TV heavyweights – Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), Alison Brie (Mad Men) and Lauren Weedman (Hung); as well as Rhys Ifans, who entered film’s hall of fame as Hugh Grant’s hilarious housemate in Notting Hill. Here he’s a rather poncy academic fancied by the student body.

Not since Bridesmaids have I seen a comedy as fresh and as funny, which explores the trick of trying to synchronise the rhythms of our lives.

It is likely to appeal as much to men as to women – a perfect date-night movie.

» Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala

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