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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The Five Year Engagement | Jason Segel | Emily Blunt | Rhys Ifans | Review

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  3_Chicks_Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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The Five Year Engagement |Jason Segel | Emily Blunt | Rhys Ifans | Review

Circumstances keep an engaged couple unhitched for an embarrassing length of time.  Relatives die, others wed and procreate, but still poor Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) grin and bear cohabitation without legalization.

Violet’s academic research takes her out of San Francisco, where Tom is a successful restaurateur, to chilly, deer-filled Michigan.  Violet thrives and Tom lapses into a depression adorned by a large mustache and hideous, hand-knit hunting sweaters.  His job as a deli sandwich guy in a college town pales in comparison to pal Alex’s (Chris Pratt) amazing success with Tom’s former Bay Area restaurant Clam Bar.  Resentment grows ever larger, especially since Violet keeps getting project extensions vital to her tenure-track career.

Seasons pass.  The course of unlikely events includes Violet getting shot by her young niece and a half-naked, drunken Tom losing a big toe.  Everyone eats venison and drinks from deer-hoof mugs that resemble “Chewbacca’s dick.”  Hey, Judd Apatow is a co-producer and that’s only one instance where that appendage pops up, figuratively and otherwise.

Violet’s sister Suzie (Alison Brie) is expecting her second child (oh, yeah – she’s married to Alex).  Meanwhile Violet’s Applied Psychology mentor Winton Childs (Rhys Ifans) develops more than a professional interest in his talented protégé.  Tensions mount when Violet’s stale donut experiment reveals deep-rooted unhappiness in her own relationship, thrusting the couple and the hapless audience into the “boy loses girl” phase of the film.

After all this comes the inevitable ending, spied without binoculars from several miles in the distance.  The viewer knows that it’s coming; only Hollywood seems to be continually hopeful that the cliché formula will appear original somehow.

Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are so likeable that one can be lulled into a sparkly veneer of hope early on that never quite materializes as the cinematic years unravel.  The two have a chemistry that transmits sincerity, but neither can overcome the quirk-laden script that opts for shock over substance.

Nicholas Stoller directed and co-wrote (with Jason Segel).  Remember Forgetting Sarah Marshall?  Same team, different outcome.  Quick-paced editing keeps the jokes at a rapid-fire pace but doesn’t explain the need for Tourette’s-like dialogue from some characters (now I’M forgetting the Apatow influence).  Vulgarity and mediocrity trump quality.  The passage of five years in two hours unravels in a manner that’s choppy, disjointed, rambling, and finally, too long - much like an actual five year engagement.

No one would want to sit through that, either.

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