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Five Year Engagement (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 122 minutes.

OK for children.

"OK for children." Who woulda thought that a film by smutmeister Judd Apatow, who favors crudity, genital jokes, and bathroom humor would make a movie that was "OK for children?" Who woulda linked classy Emily Blunt with an Apatow movie? But that's what we have here. Apatow showed in Funny People (2008), that he can do work that doesn't wallow in the gutter. But Funny People didn't do that well at the box office, so Judd, being a good businessman, has generally stayed where the money is. Even though this has an "R" rating due to some raunchy language, that's a minor part of the film. It would be even better had Judd realized that this was a good story that would be nice for children to see because it emphasizes commitment and kept the smutty language out of it. There's no female nudity and the love scenes keep Blunt clothed or at least covered up. Unfortunately, there are a few unfortunate scenes of Segel's bare bottom that add nothing to the film.

Blunt shines once again in this sweet love story (written by costar Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, who directed) about, well, an engagement that lasts five years. This is a film of surprising depth, getting into the nitty gritty of a relationship, that seems realistic.

It's never adequately explained why Violet Barnes (Blunt) and Tom Solomon (Segel) choose to live together instead of getting married when their career opportunities diverge, but that's a clumsy plot device that one must overlook to get into the spirit of the film.

Chris Pratt gives an engaging performance as Tom's best friend, Alex Eihauer, who is described as not too bright, but who seemed plenty savvy to me. His appearances livened the film when it was dragging. Alison Brie gives a fine performance as Violet's sister and Alex's wife, Suzie, although she doesn't appear in that many scenes.

The other negative of the film for me, other than why they just didn't get married in the first place, was that it's far too long. I thought it would never end. But that did give me extra time to watch Blunt, and that's always a treat.

April 25, 2012