This week’s review is more of an autopsy. Movie executives are scratching their beards trying to figure out why this widely publicized, “winning” romantic comedy did not do better at last weekends box office. It stars Jason Segel, who had been in a number of these types of movies lately and they’ve done well. There’s also Emily Blunt, the sweet English girl everyone likes. So what happened?
I’ll start with a simple answer – it’s too long. It felt like the “five year movie”. At just over two hours, it could easily have been trimmed by a half hour. In fact, you stare at the screen some times and wonder - where was the editing? By that I mean a few scenes just hung there, long after the joke was made or the touching moment was achieved.
There were other problems too, but that one jumped out at me because while I did make it through to the end, I felt exhausted. It’s sort of too bad because there is undeniable chemistry (that’s the reviewer word used when an acting couple actually looks like they are in love on screen) between Segal and Blunt. She plays Violet, an aspiring psychology professor who must leave
It’s not a bad circumstance to cover – when one has to move for the other because they have a hot job prospect. Here it’s just a case of too much time spent in
Too much time is also spent with her wacky co-workers at the University lab. They seem to always be working on human behavior experiments which often center on whether or not someone will eat a stale doughnut or wait twenty minutes for fresh ones. This ends up being a metaphor for why Violet may be hesitant to marry Tom and it was beaten to death.
There are some genuine laughs – but they are sporadic and should have been preserved while almost half of this movie could have been thrown out. If you hang in, it’s quite worth it to hear Blunt and her sister taking on the roles of “Elmo” and “Cookie Monster” in order to have an adult conversation in front of some kids.
I think what happened is they saw the cute relationship between our star couple and figured there was enough good laughs in there from the now usual vulgar stuff (at one point a co-workers of Tom’s grabs a carrot and some kind of white sauce in the kitchen and simulates, well, you get it) to make a winning movie. Maybe they only saw short clips - nobody saw “the big picture”, which is this is a lot to sit through. I give “The Five- Year Engagement a “4”.