The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

(On-demand, October 2012) Most romantic comedies end up when both protagonists are reasonably certain to stay together, but what happens afterwards?  The Five-Year Engagement starts with a marriage proposal and then cackles as the protagonists can never completely manage to finalize their wedding plans… for years.  Exasperation sets in for the characters, although viewers will be entertained to see Jason Segel (in his usual vulnerable good-guy persona; he co-wrote the script) and Emily Blunt try to figure out the rest of their lives.  More sweet than funny, The Five-Year Engagement is stronger on supporting characters and awkward gags than it is at an overarching plot and structure –much of the overlong second act repeats itself, while elements of the third act notably seem too convenient at that stage of the script.  What makes the film enjoyable are the performances –not only from the lead actors, but from the colorful supporting cast as well.  While the film may not be on solid grounds in some details (if I eat stale doughnuts before they are replaced by new ones, I get twice as many doughnuts, and let’s not kid ourselves: even day-old doughnuts are delicious), it’s a script that has a few unusual things to say about the Happily Ever After part that other movies neglect to explore. (It’s interesting to note that comedy mega-producer Judd Apatow has been mining the less-often-explored aspects of romance for a while, and that the results are usually worth a look.)  While The Five-Year Engagement may not be the ultimate or funniest take on the idea of a very long engagement (somehow, you’d expect bigger, clearer and more unpredictable obstacles), there’s enough left on the table to warrant a look.

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