The Five Year Engagement

Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) met at a New Year’s Eve make-up-your-own-superhero party one year ago. On their anniversary, he gets down on one knee and proposes. It’s romantic and sweet and perfect in a way that only movies can pull off. The article-0-12D1557A000005DC-855_306x444.jpgengagement is easy and wonderful, and their engagement party is infuriatingly better than most people’s weddings. But then things get messy. Her sister (Alison Brie) hooks up with his best friend (Chris Pratt), and then Violet gets accepted at her dream school and a move is on the horizon. The wedding gets postponed.

What was your engagement like? When Sean proposed, he got down on his knee on a beach in the Bahamas on our 6 month anniversary. It was lovely. But until this week, I’d assumed that though he did the asking, I’d done the initiating. Hadn’t we decided to marry months before that? And hadn’t I been voicing some impatience? Turns out, Sean didn’t remember it like that at all. He didn’t even remember that I knew the proposal was likely – that we’d ring-shopped together, in fact. He was still worried I’d say no! We were engaged for a year, which is longer than Ms. Impetuous (that would be me) would have liked, but I had a sister and he had a brother that already had save-the-dates in the calendar year. So we waited our turn and spent the time planning the perfect wedding and attending some close runners-up. We also almost broke up (the birth of his first niece had Sean questioning whether my no-baby stance was right for him) and then almost couldn’t marry whether we wanted to or not (did I mention I was still technically married to someone else at the time? Divorcing crazy people is hard!) but in the end we got to legalize this bitch and recently celebrated 6 years of matrimonial togetherness.

Violet and Tom had a bumpy time too. Life doesn’t always make it easy on us. Jason Segel The-Five-Year-Engagementhad to lose 35lbs to even pretend to be good enough for Emily Blunt. They have great chemistry together, and you believe in their imperfect relationship. The jokes land, but so do the more sobering moments, the ones that remind us that when relationships work, they’re transformative, and when they don’t, they’re soul crushing.

Unfortunately, The Five Year Engagement is overlong and occasionally falls back on some pretty tired cliches. But I’d still consider it worth a watch, despite its flaws, even if it had me wondering what this movie would be like with Chris Pratt in the lead rather than playing second banana. The astounding supporting cast probably contributes to this movie’s bloat, but also adds to its charm: Kevin Hart, Mindy Kaling, Mimi Kennedy, Jacki Weaver, David Paymer, Jim Piddock, Rhys Ifans, Kumail Nanjiani, and Chris Pratt all steal scenes. Not everything in this film is brilliant, but it does manage to find some truths along the way, which I suppose is not unlike a marriage: it could be improved with some editing, but isn’t that life?

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20 thoughts on “The Five Year Engagement

    1. Jay Post author

      Isn’t that fairly self-explanatory? 😉
      Husband #1: met him when I was in high school, married him when I was 20, turned out he was bipolar and didn’t care for treatment. He was in paranoid hiding when I wanted to remarry and he caused us a lot of trouble. He was finally persuaded with money.

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  1. Lacey

    I had the same thoughts pretty much. I liked it overall but felt it was LOOOONG.

    My husband proposed to me while I was making him a grilled cheese sandwich in the kitchen. I don’t think it was planned. We went and got a ring the next day. Plus my grilled cheeses are really good.

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  2. joel watches movies

    nice review, as always, jay! i remember really liking this one a ways back for how “real life” it felt. i’ll have to give it another watch.
    and congrats on your recent anniversary! my wife and i will be celebrating five years this summer!

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    1. Jay Post author

      When I saw it available, I thought, oh yeah, this movie. I saw it back then too and had good feelings but not a lot of memory. It is pretty real-life and gritty and tragic in parts. There are chunks that really work and feel authentic.

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  3. ninvoid99

    Yeah but it’s overlong but the stuff w/ Chris Pratt and Alison Brie is funny. Especially the scene where Brie and Blunt both talk like Sesame Street characters.

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  4. mikeladano

    I have this one DVD. Or had. I’m not sure if it survived the purge or not. I liked the cast enough especially Brian Posehn who is sadly being really wasted on Big Bang Theory. But a paycheque is a paycheque I guess!

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  5. Often Off Topic

    Loved reading your engagement story Jay! My husband and I were engaged 3 years before we tied the knot, but that’s because we thought saving for a house and a wedding at the same time would be easy – err!
    As for the movie – I know I watched it at the cinema, and I remember NOTHING.

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  6. calensariel

    “Not everything in this film is brilliant, but it does manage to find some truths along the way, which I suppose is not unlike a marriage: it could be improved with some editing, but isn’t that life?” That right there is enough to make me want to see this movie!!! Loved your sharing your story, Jay. 😀 You said so much in such a little space! You should write more! 😀

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  7. J.

    Sounds a bit like one of those quirky rom-coms that are now as obvious as the standard type.

    Still, nice to read of a genuine tale of determined love in there.

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  8. StephLove

    I sometimes say B and I were engaged for 21.5 years (from the time I proposed in July 1991 until our legal wedding in January 2013). But we did have a commitment ceremony six months after the proposal. We’d just finished grad school that spring. I was unemployed during most of the engagement and she only had a part-time job. Plus our parents weren’t totally on board so it was a low-budget, potluck-type affair in our apartment. Other than being worried about never finding a job (I eventually did about a month before the ceremony) it was an exciting time because we’d just moved to DC. I highly recommend being 24, in a big city after 6 years in Midwestern college towns, and in love.

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