The Five-Year Engagement (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

The Five-Year Engagement (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

Happy times.

I tried to make a list of movies which I laughed at less than Universal’s newest release, The Five-Year Engagement, and could only think of two: “Observe and Report” and “The Passion of the Christ.”

Films I found much funnier include: “The Love Guru,” “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” “All About Steve” and “Platoon.” That does not surprise, however, since this picture was directed by Nicholas Stoller — the man responsible for what I believe are two of the worst “comedies” of all-time, “Get Him to the Greek” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”

What is a surprise is even with a cast that features Jason Segel (“The Muppets,” “How I Met Your Mother” TV series, who also co-wrote with Stoller), Emily Blunt (“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” “The Devil Wears Prada“), Chris Pratt (“Moneyball,” “Parks and Recreation” TV series), Alison Brie (“Scream 4,” “Mad Men” TV series) and David Paymer (“Quiz Show,” an Academy Award nominee for “Mr. Saturday Night“), there is – sadly – not one funny moment or humorous situation.

And, at two-plus hours, this monstrosity drags like a bloated beached grey whale, with no pacing, direction or intriguing plot line to hold any interest whatsoever.

The story of The Five-Year Engagement has sous chef, Tom Solomon (Segel), meeting Violet Barnes (Blunt) at a “super hero” costume party in San Francisco. He’s a pink bunny and she’s Princess Diana (for SOME reason). A year later, he proposes, but a series of contrived events take place to postpone the nuptials.

She then gets a job in the psychology department at the University of Michigan, so he gives up his job to travel to Ann Arbor with her. While there, she meets another group of depressing, humor-impaired colleagues, including Kevin Hart (“Fool’s Gold” — notice the pattern here of these actors appearing in terrible comedies?), Mindy Kaling (“The Office” TV series) and Randall Park (“Larry Crowne“). He struggles to find work, finally getting a job making sandwiches at a greasy spoon diner. As she rises in the eyes of her professor, the irritating Brit Winton Childs (Rhys Ifans, “Nanny McPhee Returns” *sigh*), Tom turns into Grizzly Adams, growing a ridiculous beard, making his own mead and killing his own food.

The film then lurches from “cerebreal” comedy to a romantic drama as the two fall out, have short flings with other people (Tom is smeared with potato salad and nearly raped by a co-worker) and separate. Violet moves in with Winton, Tom begins dating a younger woman who seems to be insatiable in bed. In fact, the soft-core porn scenes here are so monotonous (showing intercourse from ever possible angle while she screams, “Faster Tom, faster!”) that the sex becomes unbelievably annoying and makes one wish for the passion and lucidity of a 1970s porno flick.

The Five-Year Engagement (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics


In between it all, the movie introduces some wild slapstick in which Violet gets shot with an arrow and slammed with a car door; while Tom wanders out on a freezing night, suffers frostbite and loses a toe (this is supposed to be laugh-inducing?!). At least they’re better than what are supposed to be the funniest moments in this enterprise — the funerals of various grandparents who died waiting for this marriage to take place.

What will happen to the star-crossed lovers? If you’re like me, you will not care one bit, since all they seem to do is bicker and have absolutely no chemistry, anyway. There also is not one likable or even redeeming character here. Even Tom’s best friend, Alex (Pratt), and Violet’s sister, Suzi (Brie), who hook up after she is impregnated on a one-night stand, are so shallow and badly-written as to induce a malaise of immense proportion.

But Segel, who helped bring the Muppets back to the big screen (an effort I have praised), is the worst culprit of all. His Tom is basically one of the biggest jerks in recent comedy history, yet despite his aggressive repulsiveness, Violet cries (several times during the proceedings), “I love you, so much, I love you so much.” Love is an emotion few will feel about The Five-Year Engagement, which is about the length of time one will believe they have actually spent watching this claptrap.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
1 Star Rating: Stay Away


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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: The Five-Year Engagement (2012)' have 5 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 26, 2012 @ 10:46 pm Chris108

    Harsh review, Greg. I can’t imagine its that terrible.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 29, 2012 @ 2:13 pm Mariusz Zubrowski

    “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is one “of the ‘worst’ comedies of all of time”? Ehm, what?

    This review lost all credibility after I read that.

    While “The Five-Year Engagement” is nothing to write home about, there appears to be a personal vendetta motivating the author’s criticisms.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      August 21, 2012 @ 4:19 am Greg Eichelberger

      To Mariusz Zubrowski: You could not be more mistaken. The film was bad on its own merits. I did not have to engage in a “vendetta” to support or “motivate” my opinion of it.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 5, 2012 @ 11:51 pm Arthur Devaney

    It’s a cute enough rom-com.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 8, 2012 @ 11:39 pm Winchester

    I adore Emily Blunt especially when she does something other than play the exasperated bitch.

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