Wednesday, May 9, 2012

At the Movies - The Five-Year Engagement

If NBC made a feature-length romantic comedy, then it would be a lot like The Five-Year Engagement.  Which makes sense because the movie costars a host of NBC actors, including "Community's" Alison Brie, "Parks and Recreations' " Chris Pratt, "The Office's" Mindy Kaling, and "Saturday Night Live" alum  Chris Parnell.  That having been said, it should come as no surprise that The Five-Year Engagement is a thinking person's romantic comedy that peeks under the rocks that line the babbling brook of happily ever after.  Which, to be honest, I didn't like so much at first.  But somewhere along the line I decided that I was (ahem) in it for the long haul.

The Five-Year Engagement is the story of Tom (Jason Segal), a laidback chef, and Violet (Emily Blunt), a sophisticated academic, who meet at a New Year's Eve costume party and get engaged just one year later.  Their journey begins with the usual challenges of wedding planning and meddling family members only to tumble into a move from San Francisco to Ann Arbor when Violet is offered a job at the University of Michigan.  Tom is reduced to making sandwiches for minimum wage and takes on most of the wedding planning duties while Violet becomes increasingly engrossed in her psychology research.  As a result, they dance around their real issues, instead overthinking the logistics of their more-than-once postponed wedding.  Meanwhile, Violet's sister (Alison Brie) and Tom's best friend (Chris Pratt) have a one-night stand that results in a baby, a shotgun wedding, and (despite some garden variety bickering), what appears to be a happy marriage. 

The Five-Year Engagement is funny.  But its real strength comes from recognizing that life doesn't get figured out in one heart-stopping epiphany on the way to the airport, but in mistakes born from the denial that we use to get us through the day.  In tackling this traditionally unromantic angle that good relationships require work, not soulmates, The Five-Year Engagement becomes romantic in a whole new - and more believable -way.              

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Great review Tracy! I need to see this movie!