Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Five-Year Engagement (2012) - Review

I yearn for their enthusiasm.

 Sometimes modeling a movie after something else can work.  Take Star Wars for instance.  George Lucas flat-out admitted to using The Hidden Fortress as well as Joseph Campbell's works to make Star Wars.  But hey, that's a perfect movie.  Not a good movie, and not a great movie.  A perfect one.  So using Judd Apatow as a model for your new 'comedy' seems like a winner, right?

Okay, so I fudged the details just a bit; Apatow himself is a producer on this one.  But the fact remains that the writing in this film is very much trying to emulate that Apatow tone, attempting to walk the line between drama and comedy, only in the hands of Jason Segal, it fails.  Nothing personal against Jason Segal; some of his other work is great (plus he's awesome on How I Met Your Mother), but the writing in this movie just isn't up to snuff.

The look of a man that wants to be there.
See the film starts out with a comedic first half before switching to mostly drama in the latter half.  In that respect, it feels a lot like This Is 40, if This Is 40 wasn't very funny.  The comedy in the first half doesn't work at all.  Some of it is too dark for this kind of movie, while some of it is just too weird and off-the-wall, like Jason Segal's mountainman outfit after moving to a rural area.  It just misses way more often than it hits.

On the other hand, the dramatic half of the movie works pretty well.  It's nothing beautiful or anything, and it doesn't really hit the notes as well as This Is 40 does (which even deals with similar subject matter), but it does its job well enough.  I feel like this is just sort of an awkward movie that exists.  It's not bad, and the second half is enough to push it out of the completely mediocre territory, but personally I just wish Marshall would stick with TV.

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