The Five-Year Engagement

I really wanted to like this movie.  I had high expectations, especially since I was there with a girlfriend and not my husband (he was certain he would not enjoy the film).  I absolutely loved Bridesmaids and I had it in my head that the Five-Year Engagement would be along those lines: clever satire spiked with some raunchy slapstick/toilet humour.  I’m sorry to say it was not.  The Five-Year Engagement isn’t a bad movie really, it’s just not very funny.  If I’d gone in not expecting to laugh or approached it like I do most Adam Sandler movies (with a “let’s get this over with attitude”), I would probably be writing a different review right now.  I think the problem is that the film’s situation was a bit too real and a bit too sad. The Five-Year Engagement centres around two characters who seemed pretty real to me and were quite likeable.  They live in San Francisco and lead excellent lives.  But then Violet accepts a post-doc position at the University of Michigan and Tom (who is an up-and-coming chef) readily agrees to go, thinking it would be just two years and they’d be back in San Francisco.  I immediately liked the premise as it is a situation that many of my friends have experienced (or are about to).  The couple decide to put off their marriage plans until they return to California.  As it turns out Tom despises Michigan while Violet excels in her post-doc position.  Tom can’t find meaningful work and becomes depressed….and well you can probably guess the rest.  There are moments of silliness but these are fleeting and not particularly funny (aside from the Elmo & Cookie Monster scene, where I whole-heartedly laughed) and they are overshadowed by this real problem confronting the couple. The movie was about a half-hour too long and while I actually liked the ending, I did not emerge from the theatre feeling like the whole thing was worth two hours of my life.  I wanted to laugh and instead I pondered.

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