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The Five-Year Engagement


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#1

TWoP Dietrich

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Posted Apr 27, 2012 @ 3:02 PM

Jason Segel, in a movie without puppets.

#2

Redtracer

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Posted Apr 29, 2012 @ 6:56 PM

I enjoyed this movie so, so much.

First and foremost, Emily Blunt and Jason Segel make a great on-screen couple. They have a very warm, familiar chemistry, and their characters mesh perfectly; you actually believe that they could be together forever. You know what's so great about their characters? The fact that both of them are flawed but good, strong people. Violet isn't a nagging, uptight harpy, and Tom isn't a barely functioning man-boy (although he does wear a giant pink bunny suit in several scenes, a very amusing sight gag). I don't know when Hollywood decided that those should be the go-to archetypes for romantic comedies, but thank goodness Segel and Nicholas Stoller decided to take the road less traveled. Tom and Violet make plenty of mistakes, but they are genuinely decent people who want to overcome the problems in their relationship, and I was rooting for them to make it (something I haven't done in a mainstream romcom for quite a while).

The supporting cast is terrific, especially Violet's work colleagues (particularly a wolfish Rhys Ifans) and Tom's buddies. I'd say that Chris Pratt, as Tom's best friend, basically steals the movie. And this is a romantic comedy that's actually funny! I don't know if there was a single scene that didn't get an out-loud laugh from me. The Cookie Monster/Elmo scene had the whole audience rolling. And I assume this was shot on location in San Francisco and Ann Arbor; it's nice to see movies take place outside of New York and Los Angeles.

I do have two complaints. This is a Judd Apatow production, and you can tell by the fact that the last act seems to drag and the whole movie seems sort of shapeless. There's not a ton of forward momentum. I don't know if the same people are editing all of Apatow's movies, but if they are, maybe it's time to switch it up. But I enjoyed spending time with the characters, so the overlong running time didn't bother me as much as it has in the past.

I strongly recommend this one. I'm sorry to hear that it did pretty poorly at the box office. Hopefully Hollywood doesn't decide that means we need to go back to the harpy/man-boy movies.

Edited by Redtracer, Apr 29, 2012 @ 6:57 PM.


#3

MusicaDolce

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Posted May 12, 2012 @ 11:30 AM

I too really enjoyed this movie, and I'm surprised there isn't more buzz around it. Emily Blunt and Jason Segel are ridiculously endearing as the leads, and the whole supporting cast is excellent. Also, as a resident of Ann Arbor, I got a kick out of seeing so many local places featured. Although, this does bring up one small quibble - I got a little tired of the "why the hell would you leave California for Michigan jokes." It's not so bad here, I swear!

The Cookie Monster/Elmo scene had the whole audience rolling.


This was, hands down, my favorite bit in the entire movie. Hilarious, and I totally want to learn how to do a Cookie Monster and/or Elmo impression now.


This is a Judd Apatow production, and you can tell by the fact that the last act seems to drag and the whole movie seems sort of shapeless. There's not a ton of forward momentum.


Totally agree with this as well. While watching the movie, I was really conscious of the fact that it was still not over - it just seemed to drag toward the end. I felt like it could have been at least a half hour shorter.

#4

Princess Aldrea

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Posted May 13, 2012 @ 10:23 AM

I got a little tired of the "why the hell would you leave California for Michigan jokes." It's not so bad here, I swear!

Wasn't that just in terms of Tom's chef career?

#5

MusicaDolce

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Posted May 14, 2012 @ 9:40 AM

Wasn't that just in terms of Tom's chef career?


I interpreted it more as Tom hating Michigan in general, though I can see how you could argue it was simply frustration over his career. Even that seemed like a cheap contrivance to me though - if he couldn't find a job in Ann Arbor, he still had pretty much the whole metro Detroit area to work with.

#6

Princess Aldrea

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Posted May 14, 2012 @ 11:17 AM

Even that seemed like a cheap contrivance to me though - if he couldn't find a job in Ann Arbor, he still had pretty much the whole metro Detroit area to work with.

Yeah, when Violet suggested he open his own restaurant and he complained that it was too impractical to open one specific type of restaurant, the obvious solution was to try with something else. I'd have more sympathy for him if he tried that and it fell through.

#7

TwizzWhizz11

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Posted May 16, 2012 @ 4:46 PM

I saw this yesterday - I really enjoyed it. I thought it was funny when it needed to be and was downright real when it needed to be. The scene where they are arguing in the bed (right before the "I need to be alone with you here" part) kind of shocked me with how realistic it was - it wasn't some petty fight, they really got into the deep stuff.

I didn't like how the movie turned after they broke up. Violet got together with her boss? It just kind of felt off to me - like the kiss actually did mean something and that they broke up for that reason instead of other reasons. The wedding at the end was really cute though.

#8

Princess Aldrea

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Posted May 16, 2012 @ 5:55 PM

Violet got together with her boss? It just kind of felt off to me - like the kiss actually did mean something and that they broke up for that reason instead of other reasons.

I think she was always attracted to him but she loved Tom too much to do anything. Once she was single and they were both interested in each other then why not give it a shot?

#9

NoWillToResist

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Posted May 24, 2012 @ 12:07 PM

I didn't like how the movie turned after they broke up. Violet got together with her boss? It just kind of felt off to me - like the kiss actually did mean something and that they broke up for that reason instead of other reasons.


Yeah, I didn't really get where they each ended up with the break up (him hooking up with the young girl and her with her boss). I was particularly bothered at how it was kind of implied that he had slept with the sandwich girl when, unless I misunderstood the scene, he hadn't. Yes, it crossed a line but it played out like he had actually had sex with her which bothered me. I'd have appreciated some clarification of the facts before they went their separate ways.

I adored them in the beginning. Cute couple, very open and honest; good communication etc. Rare these days.

Alison Brie and Chris Pratt were a hoot.

The movie started to lose me when Segel's character went into his hunter phase because I simply could not buy that Emily Blunt would let that shit go. He decorates their house with deer bits and is just...creepy...but she carried on as usual? Really?

And I knew that the stupid doughnut thing was going to come into play in their relationship.

The other thing that troubled me was her accepting the position at the end. She made such a stink about wanting to make sure that she had been the most qualified for the job and yet, when she had her confirmation that she hadn't been and that it was about him wanting to keep her with him, she still took the job.

That whole relationship bothered the hell out of me. I was pissed when she hooked up with him because it completely undoes all the work she'd put in. I just thought she would be too smart to sleep with the guy. Doesn't matter how much time she'd spent on her work; the second you fuck the boss-man, as far as your reputation is concerned, you slept your way to the top. That she tried to dismiss Kevin Hart's impression of that was naive at best and disingenuous at worst. And on his side, there were no consequences to having a relationship with a subordinate? Really? He gets to be on the committee that decides if she gets hired? Really?

Edited by NoWillToResist, May 24, 2012 @ 12:10 PM.


#10

Athenaeus

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Posted May 29, 2012 @ 3:15 PM

I + My Gal Pal and The Memorial Day Audience LOVED this film. That being said beyond The Simplistic Brilliance of BOTH Sides of The Donut Thesis + Argument and The Utter Hillarity of The Elmo VS. Cookie Monster SMACKDOWN in The Nursery this movie was not without it's flaws or continuity glitches which, TWOP being TWOP, we shall dissect here...

00) Attention Hollywood: 09/11 Humor (in this case the one day an exclusive + chi-chi wedding venue is available them) is BEYOND Poor-Taste no matter when/how used. Regardless of one's Politics, Innocent People DIED so it's REALLY not a good day/event to cite as a punchline.

01) Her bangs grow-out 12 Inches between The Death of GP #4 and her trip back to San Francisco. For this big and expertly produced a film to have such a major visual continuity glitch is simply inexcusable.

02) NONE of these couples could possibly have afforded to live in San Francisco based on their individual or joint earnings without Outside Help or Inherited Wealth. Also, this version of San Francisco has no poverty or crime, no homeless crazies or drug addicts, and also (apparently) no gay men.

And now, on to The Bigger Issues...

03) It's clear there was Chemistry with The California Girl early, and The Sandwich Girl too, but what's not clear is whether he actually DID The Sandwich Girl, because we see her hand him a condom and then see him turn and walk away and then walk-out the door Au Naturelle into the night. He is then somehow able to make it across town unmolested into the woods where he proceeds to lose a toe (and nothing else) to frostbite but not his life to hypothermia.

04) This couple's waiting to wed until they settle-in for their two-year stint in Michigan makes sense but what doesn't make sense is her just automatically ASSUMING he'll be OK with a four-year extension. And herein lies the problem: a couple as advanced and attuned as they are shown to be would never have let things go-so-far or get so out-of-hand. Additionally, there is the problem (previously mentioned by another) that he would have likely had many additional work options in a nearby Detroit which apparently doesn't exist in the universe this film inhabits.

05) My biggest concern about the film is it's barely concealed hostility towards any/all women of any self-direction, intelligence, and of any ambition. The mess-on-wheels that is her sister is handsomely rewarded for her compliance and (despite her "anguished" protestations of thwarted careerhood) seems to find 110% completion, fulfillment, and bliss through an (ill-advised) shotgun marriage on account of (entirely accidental) motherhood with The Resident Alpha Male Asshole. Why not just say to women:

"Let any old Loser blow-their-load inside you, doesn't matter who, it will all work-out just fine!"

Meanwhile, the femme-yet-butch emotionally crippled boss + restauranteur who voted against gay marriage magically becomes much nicer once she gets a girl of her own and is revealed to be a lesbian. Finally, Violet, is punished for her tenure-track ambition and basically all of the problems in their relationship ultimately get pinned on her and all problems in the movie facing the men eventually seem to come down to the women being too ambitious in life and work and love and (gasp) expecting the men to flex beyond the gender binary divide in their contributions. Even Violet's earned eventual win in academia is taken from her and learns she only got it because she screwed her boss and her credibility is further shaken that she accepts. In a weird sorta way this film is sort of the Gen-X Version of Indecent Proposal. As usual the Judd Apatow maxim that schmucky guys can land super-models if they play their cards right is in effect.

06) Of additional concern is the racist subtext. The Chinese and African-American social-psychology post-docs are portrayed as disturbed and incompetent and the Indo-Latina even cheerfully explains the pecking order to her chinese nemesis:

WASP (Violet) > Herself > The Asian > The African-American

Edited by Athenaeus, Jul 6, 2012 @ 10:25 AM.


#11

godonlyknows

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Posted Jul 1, 2012 @ 1:52 AM

There were parts of this movie that I really enjoyed - I wish that there had been more scenes with their families (especially Alex and Suzie) and cut out pretty much everything to do with their co-workers/friends in Michigan.

I loved the final few minutes (the scene in the park) and Chris Pratt and Alison Brie singing "Cucurrucucu Paloma" was beautiful. That whole sequence made me come out the theatre thinking it was a good movie with flaws rather than a complete disappointment.

#12

braggtastic

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Posted Sep 23, 2012 @ 12:11 PM

Kudos to Alison Brie on her voice. Not just her accent, but she pitched her voice lower for this role. I didn't know she was in the movie, and it took her whole first speech & seeing her in the background not talking for me to definitively know it was her.

For nitpicking, I don't know if Tom's co-worker/boss would be allowed to participate in an experiment Violet was involved in. Perhaps Violet hadn't met Brian Posehn's character at that point?

#13

Nanrad

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Posted Nov 22, 2012 @ 4:13 AM

06) Of additional concern is the racist subtext. The Chinese and African-American social-psychology post-docs are portrayed as disturbed and incompetent and the Indo-Latina even cheerfully explains the pecking order to her chinese nemesis:

WASP (Violet) > Herself > The Asian > The African-American


As a black person, I really could care less. At first when I saw how the black character was being portrayed, I was about to take offense to it, and then I thought about it. There are weird people out there in every race including higher education. It happens. I've met some incredibly intelligent, but weird Asians (as well as blacks)--I don't stereotype them, but it exists...for all races. If we stop trying to see more than what is being shown, it wouldn't be a big issue. I saw each character as having characteristics that reflected themselves and not their race. Furthermore, just because the Indo-Latina, thought that the pecking order was one way, doesn't mean that it was so, which was true. The Asian guy was the smartest of them all, which you could argue as a stereotype, but that is pointless. We don't know how it ranks after that. But, that black guy isn't incompetent--just fascinated with sex and he also realized why Violet got the job.

05) My biggest concern about the film is it's barely concealed hostility towards any/all women of any self-direction, intelligence, and of any ambition. The mess-on-wheels that is her sister is handsomely rewarded for her compliance and (despite her "anguished" protestations of thwarted careerhood) seems to find 110% completion, fulfillment, and bliss through an (ill-advised) shotgun marriage on account of (entirely accidental) motherhood with The Resident Alpha Male Asshole. Why not just say to women:

"Let any old Loser blow-their-load inside you, doesn't matter who, it will all work-out just fine!"

Meanwhile, the femme-yet-butch emotionally crippled boss + restauranteur who voted against gay marriage magically becomes much nicer once she gets a girl of her own and is revealed to be a lesbian.


I wouldn't say that the sister was a 110% completion because she was still upset that she never got to pursue her career. We saw that with the guy in Michigan and Violet's description of her mother. Most parents who are forced to chose parenthood over careers love their children, but wish they could have had a chance to pursue their dreams. Her sister didn't want to make it seem as if she regretted her life, because she didn't, but she did wish that she could have had a chance to pursue kinesiology(???).

Violet's problem wasn't that she was a career driven woman, but that she focused primarily on her wants and needs and pushed aside Tom's. It was always about Tom never understanding when I wondered why they never mentioned the huge promotion he missed out on by moving to Michigan. He put his career on hold for her and she doesn't address that besides saying that he is unhappy. He was very accommodating for a long time, but when he is upset she thinks he is being unfair???

As far as the butch woman goes, she had a successful career, but was alone. I'll admit that she was emotionally crippled, but at least she wasn't emotionless. Also, she was against gay marriage only because marriage interfered with work. She could still be a workaholic in a successful relationship.

The movie was average to me, but I felt it could have been stronger if it was shorter and if the relationship was re-worked a little bit. I found myself disliking Violet at times and hoping for them to break up because of her. Tom did have problems and did contribute to why the broke up, but I sympathized with him more than her. Why would he want to have kids if she can't even get married because everything isn't perfect??? It also seemed as if they blamed the relationship ending because of him--Violet had a big hand in that as well.

#14

BookWoman56

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Posted Feb 5, 2013 @ 8:34 PM

My biggest concern about the film is it's barely concealed hostility towards any/all women of any self-direction, intelligence, and of any ambition. The mess-on-wheels that is her sister is handsomely rewarded for her compliance and (despite her "anguished" protestations of thwarted careerhood) seems to find 110% completion, fulfillment, and bliss through an (ill-advised) shotgun marriage on account of (entirely accidental) motherhood with The Resident Alpha Male Asshole. Why not just say to women:

"Let any old Loser blow-their-load inside you, doesn't matter who, it will all work-out just fine!"

Meanwhile, the femme-yet-butch emotionally crippled boss + restauranteur who voted against gay marriage magically becomes much nicer once she gets a girl of her own and is revealed to be a lesbian. Finally, Violet, is punished for her tenure-track ambition and basically all of the problems in their relationship ultimately get pinned on her and all problems in the movie facing the men eventually seem to come down to the women being too ambitious in life and work and love and (gasp) expecting the men to flex beyond the gender binary divide in their contributions. Even Violet's earned eventual win in academia is taken from her and learns she only got it because she screwed her boss and her credibility is further shaken that she accepts.


This, a thousand times. In addition, Violet has spent years of her life in grad school, earned a doctorate, done post-doc research, and yet at the end of the movie she's supposed to be perfectly content working side by side with Tom at a taco truck. Is the audience supposed to applaud that she's given up her chosen career for love? I could understand leaving the specific university after discovering that her lover pulled strings to get her the job offer, but she could have stayed in her field and actually used her education and training. But maybe her confidence was shattered by having been told that her research design was so flawed that the only reason it was approved was that her professor wanted to fuck her. And of course when the professor rates the group, it's one of the males who is the best of the group. That incident in itself wouldn't have bothered me so much, but virtually every female in this movie with more than two lines was shown to be either incompetent or batshit crazy. It's one thing to have an occasional male or female character be seriously flawed, but when all females are presented as seriously fucked up and their career aspirations should just be casually tossed away in order to have a relationship with a man, that is just gender stereotyping that needs to go away. The bottom line for this movie seems to be that if a guy puts his career on hold for a female, that's too much of a sacrifice for him to make and he'll be miserable, but if a female puts her career on hold or just tosses it in the trash for a male, they'll both live happily ever after.

I made the mistake of watching this on HBO the other night with my 18-year-old daughter, and there came a point in the movie where she was pleading with me, Just tell me they don't stay together. Here's the thing for me: I don't feel any sympathy whatsoever for Tom's character. At the beginning it was nice he agreed to put his career on hold to move with Violet to MI. But nobody forced him to do that. When Violet got the extension to continue her work, again nobody forced him to stay. And then instead of making the best of the situation, he essentially decided to just sit on his ass and wallow in self-pity because he wasn't getting to do his chef job. As others have pointed out, he could have started his own restaurant, or commuted to Detroit/nearest large city for a more challenging work situation. It's a major pet peeve of mine, but I hate the attitude of "If I can't be in city X, then my life has no meaning and I can't be happy."

From Violet's perspective, staying for the additional post-doc work was absolutely the right thing to do, and it's not her responsibility to make Tom happy. From Tom's perspective, if there were zero employment opportunities there and he just hated the place so much, then he should have stated that more clearly, worked out some sort of compromise with Violet, or left. Instead he went for the martyr role. By the time they split up, I saw nothing appealing about his character at all. The take-away I got from this movie was that if you've been engaged for five years and are still having major issues, then maybe you shouldn't actually get married to each other. It just seemed as if the vast majority of the movie was spent showing that they had a dysfunctional relationship, and it's somehow all supposed to be magically resolved by having Violet give up her career to work in a taco truck. Thanks, but no thanks. I wish more movies would have the courage to show a couple who are having major problems decide that they've tried to resolve the problems, it's still not working, and the best thing to do is end the relationship.