Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement

Going into this movie, I definitely had some preconceived notions about how funny (or not) it was going to be. I read a few "reviews" (if that's what we're calling user comments on the Fandango app now...) and saw that it wasn't getting very good press. I wasn't deterred. I rarely ever am. I'm a movie lover and even if the movie is horrible, I can at least love hating it.

The Five-Year Engagement
Directed By - Nicholas Stoller
Written By - Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller 
Top-Billed Cast - Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, & Chris Pratt

This movie is about a relationship -gasp!-. Jason Segel plays Tom Solomon, a chef at a high-end restaurant in San Francisco and Emily Blunt, playing Violet Barnes, is his girlfriend. We watch their ups and downs over the course of five years -gasp!- and it's a mostly fun ride. Really, this movie is exactly what it sounds like so writing this synopsis feels pretty pointless.

Pros -

* A lot of the "reviews" that I read stated that this movie wasn't that funny. I disagree. While it was no Bridesmaids (which I can't even think about without cracking up), it was consistently funny.

* I'm an Emily Blunt fan and I felt she did a good job at conveying some of the lesser-vocalized emotions in the film. Also, for such a sex-driven movie (for lack of a better term), I was happy to see that she only took part in 1 uncomfortable segment. See? It's TRUE! You don't have to bare all in a movie to portray proper emotions -gasp!-

* I don't watch The Office...I never have (consistently) but, Mindy Kaling, I'm a fan. I feel that her character in this movie is pretty much the same character she always plays but it doesn't matter because it's always funny. Surprisingly (?), there is a lot of tension in this movie and her character (along with other members of the supporting cast) really help lighten things up.

* If a movie can make me laugh about somebody dying, I can't help but give it props. I mean, granted, that sounds really bad...but if you can laugh at a funeral, something must be going right...right?

* I know I already briefly touched on the supporting cast but, again, they really carried a lot of the movie and did a great job. Allison Brie, playing Emily Blunt's sister, did an excellent job and I didn't even question the accent...that's a big deal.

Cons - 

* This is a Judd Apatow film. WHAT?!? Yes, I'm putting that as a con here. Why? Because I feel that more people will associate that name with the style of movie to which I'm referring than the writers. Writers write it, yes, but producers approve it. If a producer says "no", it doesn't happen.

* I know I just talked about why sex scenes don't work on TV in the post right below this one (check it out!) but, I feel I should highlight some reasons they don't work in movies. I understand that these types of movies rely heavily on crude humor and that a lot of the "funny" stuff comes from uncomfortable situations which, mostly, seem to revolve around awkward sex. But, honestly, I don't need 5 straight minutes of awkward sex in order to feel uncomfortable for the characters involved. Heck, I don't need 1 minute in order for that to occur. Sex scenes in movies are almost always uncomfortable for me because I just can't help but picture everyone else in the room while they're filming it. That's not romantic; that's creepy.

* I think it must be a goal of Jason Segel's to appear nude as often as possible in his films. Good on ya for having that much self confidence, I guess.

* You know you've gone too far with a comedic bit when even the college-aged guys in the theater aren't laughing. That's pretty much the target audience for a lot of the jokes in this movie and they...didn't get it either.

* You know how they say "less is more"? I think that should be remembered in the writer's room when trying to find ways for characters to express: glee, sadness, exhaustion, love, or pretty much any other emotion. There are PLENTY of words in the English language to express these things and I feel that one is degrading the audience's intelligence if you only choose to use one. You know which one I'm talking about.

* For a movie who's entire premise revolves around time and years and the goings on in between...I felt that they didn't do a very good job of communicating where we were in the relationship. I got lost. Several times. At one point I was even questioning the title of the movie because it wasn't five full years...anyway, I digress. I just think this particular plot piece could have used a better bit of continuity.

* Speaking of continuity and time. There are two children in this movie. One never ages. It's like Tuck Everlasting.

* This probably should just be forgotten but, I can't. In the first set of previews, there's a scene in which a child shoots an arrow at Emily Blunt while proclaiming "I'm Pocahontas!" and then, in a later set of previews the child proclaims "I'm Katniss!", instead. I thought the second bit was a lot funnier and thought for sure that they would re-dub the actual film since they did the preview. Nope.

Now Mother..
This movie is rated R. Do society a favor and don't take your kids to see it, please. There were surprisingly few sex scenes for the first hour and a half but boy do those last 30 minutes make up for it! It's not that much is "shown" (technically), but there's still plenty of reasons not to bring the kids. Also, if you want your child to refrain from repeating the F-word when quoting a movie to their friends, this is probably not the right choice for you. It's in pretty much every scene at least once. If you *do* take your kids despite this warning, be prepared to talk about: making sacrifices for those you love, death, cheating, and the importance of finding the right person to spend your life with.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie. For some reason, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get this review to read that way. There are a LOT of reasons why you might not want to see this film and it's not one that I would say would be enjoyed by all. I laughed a lot and I thought it was cute. It is simply, though, a romantic comedy, and I know a lot of people that don't see the point in an R-rated romcom. I get that and I mostly agree. If this movie took out the awkward sex scenes (or at least toned them down or shortened them) and somewhat minimized the F-word usage, it would be JUST as funny and more accessible to audiences. 2.5/5 stars. 

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