Saturday, January 28, 2023


April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

In 2012 a movie with a title like The Five-Year Engagement hardly seems as provocative as one with a title like The 40-Year-Old Virgin but, despite the innocuous title, the movie is picking up some decent reviews, and even those that aren’t overwhelmingly positive aren’t exactly caustic. “Perhaps the tale of a couple who love each other and live together, but can’t find a date to get hitched, doesn’t provide enough conflict,” Claudia Puig theorizes in USA Today. Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times writes that the filmmakers seem to be “playing so fast and so loose that things simply get sloppy when a little restraint would have gone a long way to making this a far funnier, fleeter affair.” Ty Burr in the Boston Globe acknowledges that the movie “is pleasant and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, and the preview audience I saw it with … ate it up.” However, he adds, “Between that opening proposal and the film’s title, you know exactly what’s going to happen, and the result is a comedy-drama almost completely free of dramatic tension.” But most reviews are flat-out raves. Take Michael Phillips’s in the Chicago Tribune, who writes, “When something as sharp and funny as The Five-Year Engagement comes along, it means something,” he writes, adding, “I really like this film, loose flaps, protracted finale and all. … An authentic, dimensional human element animates the jokes and the characters with whom we spend a couple of highly satisfying hours.” As for those critics who complain that the audience knows what’s going to happen from the outset, A.O. Scott in the New York Times responds, “Predictability is part of the appeal. … But it is also about the unpredictability of life and the everyday challenges of love. The sensitivity and honesty with which it addresses those matters is a pleasant surprise.” And Stephen Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer, while allowing that the movie “gets draggy here and there, and there’s a tendency to veer into the land of cute,” nevertheless concludes that “the level of emotional honesty is refreshingly high, and the level of writing refreshingly sophisticated.”