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The Five-Year Engagement

MoviesDavid PaymerVan MorrisonBrian PosehnKevin HartJudd Apatow

I don’t mind a comedy going for two hours but when a lot of it isn’t working, I start to wonder why they didn’t just cut 20 minutes off the thing. I often watch movies with Jason Segel wanting to punch his face. I’m not sure why.

Well, when the movie is long and his character goes down this path of feeling sorry for himself…I never wanted to more in my life.

He does have nice chemistry with the always adorable Emily Blunt. And I was pleasantly surprised by the supporting cast. Comedian Kevin Hart has a hysterical part (and he can also currently be seen stealing every scene in Think Like a Man). I always think Mindy Kaling (The Office) is fun in her small roles.

We get David Paymer as the father and Jacki Weaver, who made such a splash in Animal Kingdom a few years ago (even snagging a well-deserved Oscar nomination). And comedian Brian Posehn, who always cracked me up on Sarah Silverman and in late night interviews, has lots of great lines in this.

Here’s the story. Segel proposes. There’s an engagement party that at first isn’t working, until Alison Brie (Community) tries fighting back tears during her speech. Chris Pratt plays the cliché character we always have at weddings on film – the person that says and does the wrong thing. When he does a bizarre version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” changing it to be about all of Segels ex-girlfriends (with a slide show to accompany him), the crowd was in stitches.

Segel co-wrote this movie with director Nicholas Stoller; and with Judd Apatow producing, it’s the Forgetting Sarah Marshall crew back together.

I welcomed the fact that we didn’t have the goofy meet cute moment these romantic comedies all have, and the flashbacks gave us many details on how they met. I also enjoyed the fact that arguments seemed very believable and adult. One of those involves Segel coming home to find his fiancé wants to talk about moving out of state for school/work. He has a great job as a chef in San Francisco, which makes the decision rather tough. It was a well-written scene.

And yeah, I did cringe at the fact that he was a chef. It seems that’s a common job in movies. At a point in the film where he gets a food truck, we can’t help but think about the character that did that in Think Like a Man.

When the couple tries adjusting to life in Michigan, it all seemed believable. Unfortunately, the filmmakers ran into problems with the direction Segels character went. He just became a bit bizarre and unlikable. Now, it’s one thing to have him grow a bizarre beard as he starts hunting more and more. I’m just not sure what was up with him wearing the bunny costume (we saw in a flashback he was wearing it at the costume party, where Blunt was Princess Di). Had Segel merely said something like “Sorry, I let laundry pile up and I had no clean underwear…so I decided to wear the bunny today.” Instead, he just mutters some goofy line like “I just feel like it’s a bunny kind of day.”

It makes him appear to be somebody that should check into a mental institution.

The job interview sequence was goofy, unrealistic, and just not funny.

The pacing of the movie was awful, too.

There’s a scene in the movie where Blunt has a focus group sit in a room, after being told they would be brought fresh donuts because the ones there are day-old. They want to see who still eats the old donuts. This movie is a little like those donuts. They taste okay, and you aren’t bummed you had one. This is a date movie that you won’t be mad you saw, but you’ll wish was a little better.

It gets an extra star for filling the soundtrack with Van Morrison tunes.

3 out of 5 stars.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun