Extra Cinema: Recipe for love

The course of true love: Emily Blunt and Jason Segel get up close.
The course of true love: Emily Blunt and Jason Segel get up close.

The Five-Year Engagement (15)

Director: Nicholas Stoller.

Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans, Jacki Weaver, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer, Lauren Weedman.

Running time: 2hrs 4 mins

LOVE hurts, though not too badly, in Nicholas Stoller’s romantic comedy about a doe-eyed couple whose rose-tinted dreams of marital bliss are undone by the pressures of everyday life.

The leads, who are friends in real life, gel delightfully.

Mirroring the central relationship, Stoller’s slick confection woos us with a terrific opening 30 minutes of zinging one-liners and colourful supporting performances.

For all its barbs and grim predictions of impending anguish, Stoller’s film is engineered with clinical precision to rouse and entertain, so you can be confident that the tears and bitter recriminations will be sweetened by a suitably feel-good denouement.

San Francisco sous chef Tom (Segel) meets psychology graduate Violet (Blunt) at a Make Your Own Superhero party.

On their one-year anniversary, he nervously pops the question with help from his best friend Alex (Chris Pratt).

Tom’s parents Pete (David Paymer) and Carol (Mimi Kennedy), and Violet’s mother Sylvia (Jacki Weaver) are thrilled and at the subsequent engagement party, bed-hopping ladies’ man Alex has an encounter with Violet’s emotionally volatile sister, Suzie (Alison Brie), that he will never forget.

Soon after, Violet secures a doctoral position at Michigan University, studying under Professor Winton Childs (Rhys Ifans), and Tom selflessly sacrifices his career to follow her to the frozen Midwest.

However, the move puts the relationship under intolerable strain and Tom and Violet contemplate breaking off the engagement to pursue their career ambitions in separate states.

Our attraction to the script and the characters wanes and we almost fall out of love entirely with the film during a plodding and bloated middle section that noticeably treads water.

Thankfully, our disenchantment is tempered by unerring affection for Segel and Blunt.

Rating: 3/5