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5/7/2012 8:03:00 AM
MOVIE REVIEW: Get your mild entertainment with The Five-Year Engagement
Emily Blunt and Jason Segel star in The Five-Year Engagement.Universal Pictures
Emily Blunt and Jason Segel star in The Five-Year Engagement.

Universal Pictures

David Kanowsky
Kudos Movie Critic, The Movie Man

The Five-Year Engagement is about Tom and Violet, a young San Francisco couple very much in love. One year ago, at a New Years Eve party, they met and fell in love at first sight. On this New Year's Eve Tom proposes to Violet and there is no doubt about the answer. They are ecstatic at the prospect of life-long commitment.

Tom (Jason Segel) is the sous-chef at a posh restaurant in San Francisco. Violet (Emily Blunt) is a philosophy major who would like to have a doctorate and a university teaching job. She has applied to many schools but hasn't had any acceptances. Violet loves Tom but worries about losing the chance for a career.

Violet gets an acceptance letter from a university in Michigan. Tom reluctantly agrees to postpone the wedding for two years while she pursues her PhD degree. He also agrees to move to Michigan with her. Meanwhile Violet's sister, Suzie (Alison Brie), has married Alex (Chris Pratt), a fellow chef at the restaurant with Tom.

Tom leaves his job and has trouble finding a position suitable to his considerable culinary talents. Tom is also trying very hard to accept the life style away from San Francisco - the winters are cold and snowy in Michigan.

Beyond that, family complications back home impact Tom and Violet's life. Their wedding plans are put back again - and again. Tom ends up driving a movable (and successful) taco vending truck. Violet signs up for three more years of school.

Friends and family can't convince Tom and Violet that there is no reason for them to wait, and we agree. Tensions about the wedding and the difficulty in adjusting to Michigan put a strain on the relationship. Will they ever bridge the gap between their separate needs and desires? The one desire and need that is constant is their love. But is it enough?

The Five-Year Engagement seems to toggle between romantic comedy and romantic melodrama (i.e., soap opera). There is a lot of humor in the film, but that's between the tense moments when this appealing couple are losing their way. The lead players Blunt and Segel (he co-wrote the script) are very convincing. The supporting players are also very effective, including Violet's fellow students. The professor leading the group, Rhys Ifans, needs to be watched; he is not unaware of Violet's sex appeal. David Paymer and Mimi Kennedy as Tom's parents are very amusing in their showdown scene with Tom.

The characters are interesting enough so that The Five-Year Engagement is mildly entertaining. It won't win any awards, but at least it has some values that are appealing to adult moviegoers.

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