Feature

The Five-Year Engagement

Life’s complications put a love story on hold.

Directed by Nicholas Stoller
(R)

**

The premise of this romantic comedy “sounds so promising” that you root for the film while you’re rooting for its central couple, said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. “Both have their moments,” though not enough to sustain a two-hour running time. Jason Segel (who co-wrote with director Nicholas Stoller) and Emily Blunt make “an appealing pair.” But after he puts a West Coast career on hold to move to Michigan while she pursues an academic life, the couple’s engagement stalls and the script simply takes “too many detours.” Blunt is soulful here, while Segel “can do lumpy nice guy in his sleep,” said Ty Burr in The Boston Globe. Yet while their tribulations prove “occasionally laugh-out-loud funny,” the story follows such a predictable path that it’s “almost completely free of dramatic tension.” What the film needs most is a pitiless edit, said Mary Pols in Time. Virtually all the couple’s friends—including The Office’s Mindy Kaling and Parks and Recreation’s Chris Pratt—get camera time for stand-up bits that mostly fall flat. Sometimes a director can simply be too generous.

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