A.C. at the Movies

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The Five Year Engagement

FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS

This movie is rated R for sexual content, and language throughout

 

I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years lamenting the death of the comedy genre.  This death has mostly been brought on by a shift in the genre towards ultra-raunchy and overly vulgar R rated comedies that are stuffed so full of sexual crudeness and vulgarity that it’s almost impossible to enjoy them.

So it makes sense that I never bothered to give The Five Year Engagement much of a look when it released last year.  There were other things to review at the time, and it appeared to be just another R rated comedy.

After seeing it on home video this past week, I’m excited to say that I was wrong about this one.  Yes, it is rated R and that does mean that it includes some raunchiness and crudeness, but it’s not so overdone that it leaves you feeling dirty for having watched the film.

The movie tells the story of Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt), who get engaged but find their wedding constantly getting pushed back due to several different life events.

I’m not much of a Segel fan, but this is my favorite performance he’s ever given.  Blunt is fantastic in this film.  She’s charming and hilarious, but also able to rise to the occasion when the movie has its serious moments.

Romantic comedies such as these live or die with the quality of co-stars, and that’s another place where this movie shines.  Chris Pratt (Parks and Rec) and Alison Brie (Community) are the main co-stars, and they’re each hilarious.  Then you have a whole other handful of supporting actors that carry the middle section of the film and again, they all provide great comedy and some big laughs.

One thing that impressed me about this movie is how well balanced it was.  Usually, romantic comedies will stay light and then when things get serious they get heavy and super dramatic.  The Five Year Engagement had a consistent tone that felt very original.  The comedy is pretty wacky, but barely realistic enough to be believed, and the drama is pretty tame, but realistic enough to make you really feel it.  It all comes together to give the movie a great presence in a place that’s light enough to keep you laughing, but just heavy enough to make you care when the characters struggle.

It’s been quite a while since I loved a comedy this much, especially an R rated comedy.  This gives me hope that maybe there are a few filmmakers out there who still understand the art of comedy, and can do R-rated ones without plunging a hundred miles into the filth in every scene.

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