Nicholas Stoller/Jason Segel’s creative partnership has already churned out Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets, both of which helped the duo climb out of the shadow of producer, mentor and American Comedy Overlord Judd Apatow.
With The Five-Year Engagement, the pair shift emphasis to the rom from the com. Which may disappoint those looking for another peep at Segel’s old boy, but not those seeking depth and sensitivity.
The Five-Year Engagement bills itself as a romcom in reverse, beginning with Segel’s Tom and Emily Blunt’s Violet hooking up at a New Year’s Eve party.
Despite an early engagement their wedding is constantly thwarted, while his far-less-organised friend Alex (Chris Pratt) and her ditsy sister Suzie (Alison Brie) meet, get married and have kids before the lovers have even sent out their ‘Save the date’ cards.
The set-up leaves Pratt and Brie as the comedy relief while Blunt and Segel supply the angst and heart at the movie’s core. Their easy chemistry is undeniable – they’re real-life friends and it shows on-screen.
When their relationship is threatened by an interloper in the shape of Rhys Ifans’ slimy Professor Childs, you’re genuinely anxious that they may not end up together after all. Which may not be Apatow funny, but it does feel refreshingly real.
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What The Five-Year Engagement lacks in belly laughs it makes up for in heart and soul, successfully exploring the genuine greys of a relationship instead of painting them black and white.