This movie proves my theory that putting puppets in movies automatically makes them fantastic. Unfortunately, the accompanying (and more applicable) theory is that when co-writers Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel write a script that doesn't contain fake fur and googly eyes, what's left is a better-than-average comedy that's still nothing to write home about.
I keep using the word "charming" when I tell people about The Five-Year Engagement. It positively reeks of charm. Charm is dripping from the film as it runs through the projector. Engaged couple Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet's (Emily Blunt) charm floats through the air and settles into your popcorn bucket. "It's…charming," I say, which is then followed by a big sigh and then a reluctant "but." It's just not quite funny enough to justify its length. Something is just off.
This is probably the most anti-romantic romantic comedy I've seen since Woody Allen was in his heyday--whether or not that's what you want to see for 12 bucks, though, is another matter. Tom and Violet get engaged because they're both beautiful and like to make out in snowdrifts, but life happens. Their ambitious dreams don't quite match up, but they do what their hormones dictate and stay together, barely outrunning their fear that they shouldn't be together at all. On one hand, I admired the realism of it, and on the other, I can see a hot guy pickling venison in my own home (don't ask). Perhaps if it were 30 minutes shorter I would have been swept up in the cuteness of it all, but the length combined with fewer laughs than usual made me focus on how predictable it was.
As per usual, though, I loved all of the oddball characters. If you've turned on a television in the past year you've seen most of the film's supporting characters, like Chris Parnell (Dr. Spaceman from 30 Rock) and Chris Pratt (Andy from Parks and Recreation). And somehow, Alison Brie found time in-between Mad Men and Community to be in this film as Suzie, Emily Blunt's British sister. Comedian Brian Posehn also adds his usual brand of bearded hilarity, too. They get enough screen time to elevate the whole movie past tolerable--but not enough to make it better than Stoller and Segel's previous efforts.