Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller and Judd Apatow, the comedy triumphant behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall are back together for The Five-Year Engagement. Tapping a similar vein of scatological humour fused with flourishes of romantic gesture, this ribald rom-com suffers in the wedding themed comedy stakes next to Kristen Wiig’s all-conqueringBridesmaidsbut still manages a cheerful flutter of chuckle confetti of its own.
Segel, fresh from Muppets glory, plays Tom, a high-flying chef loving the San Francisco life style. Violet (Emily Blunt) is an academic waiting for the big call from Harvard. When the pair meet at a Superhero fancy dress party - go Super Bunny – sparks fly and soon the loved-up pair are engaged.
The script spends the rest of the running-time driving spikes between the couple ensuring that the engagement lasts at least - you’ve guessed it - five years. Those spikes include relocating to the snowy climes of Michigan, an amorous professor in the form of Rhys Ifans, the pair’s best friends – Community’s Alison Brie and Parks And Recreations’ Chris Pratt – having a perfect wedding and Tom’s own descent into beardy gun-toting weirdness. This determination to fill the screen with achingly quirky characters often veers too closely into Happy Madison territory but luckily Segel and Stoller’s writing skills rein things in before the main thrust of the narrative gets lost in a sea of overindulgent quirkiness.
Through all the romantic rib-tickling, the film’s trump card is its incredibly likeable leads. Segel and Blunt exude a palpable chemistry and the film’s charming, if inevitable, denouement is genuinely touching. Even if you do want to slap Segel’s Tom for even thinking of leaving Blunt’s Violet. Why would you? The Five-Year Engagement won’t have you crying with laughter but there are certainly enough gags to ensure a smile when you leave the theatre.
Not quite the titter filled marriage made in heaven but winning performances from Segel and Blunt ensure there is still plenty to engage with.