Movie Pick: 'The Five-Year Engagement'
There's nothing like seeing a new comedy in a theater full of people, and after being on a movie hiatus following The Hunger Games, it was exciting to be excited about a movie again when I went to see The Five-Year Engagement.
Let's face it - anything with Jason Segel and Judd Apatow's names on it can't lose. Tack on a charming Emily Blunt, the ubiquitous and finally getting the attention she deserves Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men), and a Michigan location and you're in business.
The story follows Violet and Tom, who meet at a Make Your Own Superhero New Year's Eve party and get engaged one year later. The couple is living happily in San Francisco, where Tom is a rising sous chef and Violet is hoping to get into a local psychology program.
When Violet gets accepted into the program at the University of Michigan, they move to Ann Arbor and hold off wedding plans. Yet as Violet thrives in school, Tom begins to shrink away, having trouble coping with the snowy landscape and the fact he can't land a job better than working as a sandwich maker at Zingerman's. Let's face it - Tom could do a lot worse than working for the famous deli, but in San Francisco he could have been the head chef at a new restaurant.
Amid all of the life changes in Michigan, wedding plans keep getting put off - despite the pressure from Tom and Violet's hilarious parents.
Jason Segel and Emily Blunt have wonderful chemistry together, and having worked with one another in the past certainly helps their relationship feel believable.
The supporting cast is what brings a lot of the laughs: Chris Pratt (Moneyball, Parks and Recreation) plays Tom's friend, co-worker, and eventual love interest to Brie's character Suzie, Violet's sister. Chris Parnell is also funny as a fellow 'school husband' Bill, who tries to help Tom get acclimated to Michigan by taking him hunting and knitting him funky sweaters.
Another aspect to the film I loved was the inclusion of many wonderful Van Morrison songs, though I fear my all-time favorite Van-the-Man song "Sweet Thing" will soon become everyone's favorite due to its sweet placement in the movie. Throughout the movie, covers and original performances of Morrison's songs shape the story - I especially liked The Swell Season's version of "Into the Mystic".
The Five-Year Engagement isn't an instant classic, and won't go down in history with other favorite romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally..., but it's an entertaining, offbeat, and at times raunchy and raucous film about the ups and downs of love. Even when the two people are exactly right for each other, other factors can easily get in the way.