Cunningly disguised as a wedding comedy, the new film from the Jason Segel/Nicholas Stoller hit machine in fact reworks their favourite theme of masculinity and its loss. Tom (Segel) leaves behind the chance to run his own restaurant in San Francisco to follow his fiancée Violet (Emily Blunt) to a sleepy university town in Michigan so she can complete a post-doctorate in social psychology. The wedding is put on hold, and Tom is obliged to make deli sandwiches while Violet works on her thesis and her show-off supervisor (Rhys Ifans) slowly moves in for the kill. Will Tom and Violet ever get hitched? Will he win back his self-respect? Is he a man or a Muppet?
The makers of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek have surrounded the couple with a large cast of crazies. There’s Violet’s high-strung sister Suzie (Alison Brie) who accidently gets knocked up by Tom’s doofus colleague Alex (Chris Pratt); Violet’s bitter divorced mother, who likens marriage to Saving Private Ryan (Jackie Weaver, making her post-Oscar tinseltown debut); and a househusband friend of Tom’s (Chris Parnell) who counterbalances his fondness for knitting with hunting and killing deer. Accomplished comedians all, but much of what has made it to the screen should have been saved for the extended DVD release. At more than the two hours, The Five-Year Engagement outstays its welcome like a drunken, microphone-hogging best man.