The Five Year Engagement [2012] ★★½

Here’s the thing about comedies: Even when the script is freighted with formula, the right actors can keep it afloat, even airborne. That’s where “The Five Year Engagement” really lucks out, even though it goes on for two hours (that’s too long for a comedy in my opinion). For that, all credit to Jason Segel, who’s the best guy a comedy movie could have. The guy has skills. He can get laughs without the sitcom pimping. It’s a rare gift, staying hilarious and recognizably human. His presence and ace comic timing kicks the movie up a notch. Director-writer Nicholas Stoller, who teamed up with Segel previously in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, hangs the plot on a straightforward premise: Segel and Emily Blunt are engaged, but life’s many obstacles keep delaying the wedding. Complications follow, as if you thought they wouldn’t. And that’s it. That’s all. So in case you’re expecting another “Bridesmaids” in the making, you might be slightly disappointed. “The Five Year Engagement” is clearly a movie that dares to take its time, as it chronicles a very long period in a continually changing relationship. Which means not everyone will welcome its unusual pace. Personally, I was thrilled at first, as it won me over almost instantly. I’m not going to pretend that it rises above every comedy ever made, but when the script sags, Stoller and producer Judd Apatow rely on a top team of actors to keep you laughing. Segel and Blunt build an easy rapport. And Chris Patt is a hoot as Segel’s best pal. A scene, early in the film, has him singing a completely inappropriate song about Segel’s long list of former lovers. Indeed I laughed. Add to that a number of lively supporting performances by a talented cast including Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans, Mindy Kaling and Jim Piddock and there’s no way you won’t be tickled. The movie goes soft in its final stages, but Segel and Blunt keep it real. Now try to take that goofy smile off your face. You can’t.

Rating: 2.5/4

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