Nicholas Stoller and frequent co-worker Jason Segel re-team for an R-rated Judd Apatow-produced wedding comedy that co-stars Emily Blunt and Chris Pratt. The Five-Year Engagement features similar Stoller/Segel humor and eventual drama, but falls flat somewhere around the halfway point, making it their weakest team effort yet. The outstanding chemistry between Segel and Blunt makes the film charming and lovable, but it loses its footing and never manages to regain that level of filmmaking we’ve come to expect from the pair.
Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) love each other and can’t wait to get married, but life just doesn’t seem to want them to get married just yet. After proposing, Tom and Violet decide to move and relocate for the sake of Violet’s career. What starts out as a few harmless years turns into an agonizing and degrading life change for Tom as he goes from being a head chef to a server at some local sandwich shop. His life has taken a dive in happiness, while Violet’s new job at a university seems to be flourishing.
Nicholas Stoller’s The Five-Year Engagement deals with some of the most common reasons for breakups and cold feet before weddings. It approaches that whole honesty aspect of a relationship that really makes or breaks marriages. Tom wants to see Violet happy, but he soon realizes that her happiness comes at his own expense. The more she enjoys her life, career and new job the more he slowly starts to resent her, his life and his job. The two just can’t seem to get a hold on what they want and how they can achieve a perfect marriage for the both of them.
Stoller’s film has several ups and downs, much like most healthy relationships. What ruins the film is when the characters start to become aware of their problem. Stoller’s romantic comedy that was once full of life and energy quickly becomes a snoozefest just waiting to end. Jason Segel’s comedy almost suddenly stops and Emily Blunt’s natural cheerful attitude becomes another sad afterthought. It’s true that some relationships don’t make it and some that do take time to re-establish the footing, but a film like this isn’t supposed to completely lose its audience in the middle of the story.
I stopped caring about the characters and their situation around the one hour mark and that is something that has never happened while watching a Nicholas Stoller/Jason Segel film. The two usually stuff their films with so much comedy and life. The Five-Year Engagement becomes lifeless at one point and almost drains itself completely of any and all humor. The film does wrap things up a little smoother towards the end, but by that point exhaustion takes over and you just want it to end.
Universal presents the film in 1080p with a fairy sharp transfer that almost never has any troubles maintaining rich blacks and an overall absorbent color palette, full of warm reds in the California setting and cold blues and grays when the film swaps out climates for a colder setting. The film does include very brief city-panning shots that lose focus and almost look juddered, but aside from a few hiccups here and there the transfer is clean and attractive.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is yet another staple in the romantic comedy genre. Dialogue is front-loaded and musical cues and activity remain attached to the back channels. There’s isn’t too much interaction going on between channels, but it’s a serviceable effort that works for this particular film.
The Five-Year Engagement is loaded with bonus content. Here’s a detailed list of what is all included across this two disc Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack:
- Unrated & theatrical editions of the film.
- Feature Commentary with Director/Writer/Producer Nicholas Stoller, Producer Rodney Rothman, Writer/Star Jason Segel and Stars Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt & Alison Brie: This is a mostly hilarious audio track that gives us a more extensive look at the film from various eyes of production. Stoller and Segel are no strangers to these types of tracks and having the rest of the immediate cast on board is just icing on the cake.
- Deleted, Extended & Alternate Scenes (HD): A hefty batch of deleted/extended/alternate scenes that mostly add a new joke or two, but would have really hurt the pacing in the long run. There are a few scenes that I laughed pretty hard at, but realized they had no actual outcome or place in the film without hurting the structure.
- Gag Reel (HD): Another funny gag reel with Segel and the rest of the crew messing up lines, improvising skits and just having a great time. You can really tell that the entire crew had a blast filming this movie, because this feature shows just how relaxed and open everyone on the set was while filming.
- Line-O-Rama (HD): A short compilation of line after line.
- Experiment-O-Rama (HD): This one is a little more clever than the previous feature, but equally harmless. Kevin Hart seems to be having the most fun in this one.
- Weird Winton (HD): A special look at Rhys Ifans’ character and just how weird he was willing to go.
- The Making of The Five-Year Engagement (HD): A Two part documentary that shows the making-of the film in both locations. It’s extensive and well-pieced together.
- Gastrocule: The Making of (HD)
- Turkey: The Making of (HD)
- Gonorrhea Trouble (HD): A series of outtakes and in-character scenes where Violet’s father explains why he and his wife actually split up.
- Top Chef: Alex Eilhauer (HD): A Top Chef segment featuring star Chris Pratt and Chefs Emeril Lagasse, Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchino.
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
As it stands The Five-Year Engagement is a half decent film that loses its steam and nearly crashes into flames. It doesn’t completely fail on all levels, but it does leave much to be desired. The Blu-Ray thankfully makes up for the lacking script and lazy pacing, because it is absolutely loaded with hours of hilarious bonus content that will keep you laughing and revisiting the disc. The unrated cut only offers up a few extra minutes that are seamlessly integrated into the film so much that you might not even notice it on the first pass around.
The Five-Year Engagement isn’t a complete waste, despite its several shortcomings. The film is still a solid performance piece, thanks to Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt and Alison Brie. Nicholas Stoller’s direction just seems a bit off key and in need of fine tuning and proper readjusting. I don’t think he’s completely lost his touch for making genuinely funny films, but he’s getting rusty. Hopefully this is just a case of a bad script on his and Segel’s part. The two are allowed to make a dud here and there, but I’d really not like to see this become a pattern.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.