Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Five Year Engagement

Plot: Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) met, fall in love, and get engaged. But then, Tom's brother Alex (Chris Pratt) hooks up with Violet's sister Suzie (Alison Brie), and Suzie gets pregnant. Because of the awkward timing they cancel the wedding. Violet gets accepted into grad school at U of Michigan, and next they are living together in a bungalow in Ann Arbor. Tom is making sandwiches at Zingerman's, but he'd rather open a restaurant. One delay leads to another, and soon five years pass. [imdb link]    [photos]

Review: This is cheerful and likable movie with clever dialog and strong characters. 

Emily Blunt is engaging and likable. Jason Segel is serviceable, and likable enough. 

The movie has a lot of silly little episodes at parties, engagements and funerals. 

They show Emily doing psychology experiments, and it concerns "the famous marshmallow experiment." Emily does these experiments at school, and soon we see the whole plot in terms of the experiment. The bottom line is that they waited five years to get married, so they must be the virtuous ones.

A highlight is when Suzie and Violet have an argument in the voices of Elmo and Cookie Monster to keep the kids from getting alarmed. It was silly and funny: "C is for Condom."

The was some mixing of Northern Michigan culture with the Ann Arbor culture that felt a little odd to me. As much as the town fathers like seeing their town on the screen, they must cringe at the near-wedding in the lodge with polkas and accordions. 

Cast: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller; written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller

Rating:   3.0 stars: maybe a little lower since it was not ambitious, but for a romance, this is about as good as they come. 

I have this personal connection with the story. I made my wife move with me to school and then to a series of jobs, that latest of which in Michigan. Like Suzie who gave up being a kinesiologist, my wife has been moving around a lot. So the parallel of the story with my life makes me like this movie more. 

More:  Suzie and Alex sing a wedding song in Spanish. I could tell from the audience reaction that the lyrics were funny, but my Spanish wasn't good enough to get the joke. Here is the English translation of the lyric. It is deeply romantic, but also completely wrong at a wedding. Click here for English lyrics.

Even more: [MINOR SPOILER] It is unclear where Tom and Violet end up at the end of the movie. Where did they movie to? I suppose the viewers are free to imagine whatever outcome they like the best.

Yet more: [MINOR SPOILER] Critics who complain that the end was predictable are not thinking clearly. The movie is called, "The Five Year Engagement."  
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