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Merlin filming

The Five-Year Engagement (USA, 2012)

Predictions: Alex had already seen this movie ages ago and told Kat that it starred Emily Blunt and Jason Segel. Based on these casting choices, Kat guessed that Emily Blunt and Jason Segel have been engaged for five years, and Emily Blunt grows impatient with Jason Segel and dumps him, but then later they get back together.

Plot: Emily Blunt and Jason Segel are a nice, perhaps late-twenties-early-thirties couple. They met at a New Year’s Eve party one year earlier and have now decided to get engaged. We have some qualms about people who get engaged after only one year, but okay.

Blah blah blah, wedding stuff. Jason Segel is a chef in San Francisco, and Emily Blunt is hoping to be offered a postdoc position at Berkeley. Everything’s going to go great! Except, of course, it doesn’t. Instead, Emily Blunt gets offered a position at Michigan, and Jason Segel agrees to put the wedding on hold and move there with her. Just two years, right?! NBD.

Eventually, Jason Segel is clearly struggling with Michigan, having deferred some dreams to be there. He finds himself working in a artisanal sandwich shop and hanging out with a combination of his weird coworkers, Emily Blunt’s weird coworkers (Mindy Kaling, Randall Park, Kevin Hart – just some super-famous, casual workplace pals of color; whatever) and her advisor, and a weird survivalist stay-at-home dad. Yeah, what could go wrong? we say, sarcastically.

(The middle of this film drags a touch.)

By the way, earlier, Emily Blunt’s sister, British Alison Brie, and Jason Segel’s slovenly best friend, Chris Pratt, slept together at Emily Blunt and Jason Segel’s engagement party and got knocked up. So, you know, naturally, they got married and had kids, and it actually worked out okay???? Sure, sure. Anyway, they come to visit at one point, and New Jason Segel is truly terrifying and not useful. He is obviously super unhappy, and making Emily Blunt unhappy into the bargain.

One day, Emily Blunt kisses her advisor. SHAME ON YOU, EMILY BLUNT. (I mean, it’s not nearly as bad as if she were, like, a high-schooler or an undergrad, but still, it’s not good. Especially as she is engaged.) Anyway, for some reason, she chooses to be like, HEY, JASON SEGEL, LET’S GET MARRIED NOW, THEN. NOW IS THE TIME. And then they plan the worst, most halfhearted wedding ever. On the eve of the eve of which, she chooses to tell him the truth about this advisor-kiss situation?? I MEAN, WHYYYYYY. HE DIDN’T NEED TO KNOW, IF IT WAS REALLY WHAT’S-HIS-FACE, NOT YOU, AND IT WAS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN. GOD. PEOPLE.

Predictably, shit hits the fan, Jason Segel also almost sleeps with somebody, and then he loses a toe… They break up. He moves back to San Francisco to work at Chris Pratt’s restaurant and date young, excessively hip Blonde Dakota Johnson. Emily Blunt stays in Michigan, dating her advisor. :|  Both of them are sad, but things are kind of going better for them separately, professionally at least. Jason Segel eventually opens his own food truck.

One day, Emily Blunt’s last grandparent dies (grandparents have been dying throughout this film, just FYI). Jason Segel comes, possibly inappropriately, to the funeral, and they reconnect and hook up (they have both broken up with those other people, though, don’t worry). They decide to just spend a couple of weeks together, no strings attached, and have a really nice time. At the end of it, however, they clearly each want to marry the other again, so they do.

Best Scene: OMG. So, Emily Blunt has some hang-ups about her and Jason Segel not being totally perfect for each other, even after they’ve spent the nice time together near the end. British Alison Brie talks her out of this silliness in a deeply wonderful scene in which British Alison Brie pretends to be Elmo and Emily Blunt pretends to be Cookie Monster. It is hilarious and charming.

Worst Scene: Probably the scene where they talked continuously about vomit for like three minutes? (Kat blocked her ears and hummed over it.) Also, whenever people lost body parts. That was troubling and happened more times than one would expect in one romcom.

Best Line: ALL OF ELMO AND COOKIE MONSTER’S LINES. But, um, besides that… At the first engagement party, Jason Segel’s parents recited a funny poem about how they basically didn’t know what Emily Blunt saw in him? (Don’t worry, it was cute.)

Worst Line: Emily Blunt’s mom being racist about Emily Blunt’s father’s new (Chinese) wife. Actually maybe the only REALLY offensive thing that happened in this movie, and Emily Blunt clearly felt as awkward as we did, so, could have been worse, but still.

Highlights of the Watching Experience: This was a surprisingly nice movie about two people who were already together! They liked each other. We liked them. They broke up because they were both clearly losing their minds, not because, as we feared, Jason Segel believed marriage was just a trap that women set for men, or because (in this post-Zooey-Deschanel age) Emily Blunt was just too goddamn free-spirited or whatever.

How Many POC in the Film: Mindy Kaling. Kevin Hart. Randall Park. Who knows, maybe other people around. Probably good for Emily Blunt to have met all these POC in her postdoc program, though. Being from Movie London, she’s probably never seen any before.

Alternate Scenes: Well… Maybe if Jason Segel hadn’t been quite so much of a psycho in the middle, this could have just been The Three-Year Engagement. Would have saved us all some time and cringing. (Alternately, if he had been even more of a psycho, they maybe would have broken up sooner but not gotten back together, and, instead of being a romcom, this movie could have been an arthouse tragedy. …Except we’d probably never watch that film.)

Was the Poster Better or Worse than the Film: Worse. The poster suggests that this is a traditional Judd Apatow shenanigans film (well, it is a Judd Apatow film, but definitely less offensive and/or gross than usual). From the poster, we might expect Jason Segel and Emily Blunt to get horrible food poisoning from their wedding cake and spend their honeymoon hunched over the toilet.

Score: 7 out of 10 Sesame Street smooches. Totally different from probably any other romcom that would rank this highly, but surprisingly delightful for what it was. Long-term relationships that work! Yay!

Ranking: 13, out of the 66 movies we’ve watched so far. This film was more consistent and less fratty than Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but The Holiday is still more traditional and rewatchable.

Les Misérables (2012) but every time someone dies it cuts to a one hour documentary about the battle of Waterloo and every time Javert and Valjean meet it cuts to a one hour documentary about sewage systems and every time those candlesticks appear on screen it cuts to a one hour documentary about priesthood in the late 18th-early 19th century