Five-Year Engagement

Culture Warrior

Imagine what some of our most beloved romantic films would look like if they were made in the 21st century. Laura and Alec of David Lean’s Brief Encounter could have managed their secret meetups over text. Harry and Sally could have checked each others’ okcupid accounts before explaining every aspect of what they seek in a partner over a cross-country road trip. And Ilsa would never have had to get on that plane because, y’know, the war’s over. This is a fruitless endeavor, I know, but it brings one thing into light which poses both problems and opportunities for the contemporary romance film, specifically the romantic comedy: politics, economic conditions, shifting gender roles, and technological evolution means different kinds of relationships and, thus, different kinds of romantic movies. How can the 21st century romance film expect the wedding-bell-chiming happy ending to work in a society full of emerging adults who feel less and less of a need to get married? How can new romantic comedies account for the fact that today’s working professional must move constantly – putting all their human relationships at risk – in order to find a job that suits them without only making films about the uber-privileged? Will there ever be a mainstream romantic comedy featuring a non-monogomous or non-heteronormative protagonist? Several recent screen romances have attempted to tackle the changing nature of relationships – or, at least, the type of relationship typically depicted in the Hollywood romance.

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I was already pretty pumped just at the announcement that Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel were going to be working together again. Their first film collaboration Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of my favorite comedies of the last decade and the idea of them reteaming for Five Year Engagement had me at hello. But since then they’ve just kept making this movie sound cooler and cooler. From the very beginning Emily Blunt was cast as Segel’s love interest in the film. I defy you to find someone who doesn’t like them some Emily Blunt. Score one point. movie. But it didn’t stop there. The wonderful people behind this film then went on to cast the funny and adorable Alison Brie to play Blunt’s younger sister. After that they filled things out by adding the ridiculously charismatic Rhys Ifans and the next big thing in comedy Chris Pratt for supporting roles. Could things get any better? Well, yes, and they have.

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Nicholas Stoller directed both Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. I liked both of those movies to varying degrees. I found Get Him to the Greek to be an enjoyable enough romp, but I thought Forgetting Sarah Marshall was one of the top few comedies of the decade. I would be interested enough in his next project no matter what it was. So when I look over the cast that has been announced for this one so far, I start to feel myself go from interested to fanboy meltdown. Stoller and Jason Segel, the same team that wrote both of the previously mentioned films, wrote the script. Personally, I’ll see anything that Jason Segel has a creative credit on. I find the man to be completely charming and his upcoming film The Muppets is something that I’m just giddy over. Segel is set to star in this one alongside my current crush Emily Blunt (who I’m watching flashing leg on Conan the very moment I type this). It tells the tale of the high and low points of a relationship, hopefully less depressingly than Blue Valentine did. But whichever way they go, I have faith that they’ll find a way to tell the story with humor and heart. Community’s Allison Brie has already signed on to play Blunt’s younger sister, and that’s great because she’s funny and pretty. Tell me all of this and I’m already on board. Adding in the new news is some delicious icing […]

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Nicholas Stoller knocked it out of the park with Jason Segal in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He then seemed to save the best bits for P. Diddy in Get Him to the Greek. That second attempt was a mixed bag, but that scientifically proves that Segal is the key to success. Thus, the forthcoming Five-Year Engagement will be comedy gold. The movie shows the highs and lows of a couple, played by Emily Blunt and Segal, and according to Variety, Community‘s Alison Brie is joining the cast as Blunt’s younger sister. She’ll, of course, have to rock a British accent. No word yet on whether she’ll call in Geoffrey Rush to help with it. It’s undoubtedly a great addition to a project that already sounds fantastic. With any luck, it’ll have the right blend of drama and comedy that made Sarah Marshall work and will leave out any awkward threesomes that made Get Him to the Greek fail. Speaking of awkward Eiffel Towers, this marks the second time Stoller will work with a leading lady from Mad Men as Elizabeth Moss was in Greek. If that trend continues, we’ll be hearing about January Jones and Christina Hendricks joining his next. If that’s the case, there’s a ton of internet fanfic to choose from for the adaptation.

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