I’ve come to terms with the fact that there will never be another Wedding Crashers. Ever. Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell managed to forge a new form of rom com — one that is low on the rom and heavy on the com. Since then, what-else-could-possibly-go-wrong wedding movies like The Hangover and Bridesmaids have come close to achieving Crashers status by sticking to the formula: buddy comedy in which impossible hijinks ensue when another one bites the dust and decides to get hitched. The Five-Year Engagement starring Emily Blunt (Violet) and co-screenwriter Jason Segel (Tom) wins because it adds one more element to the mix — real-life drama.
The movie starts with a fairy-tale ending, and crams the couple’s five-year journey to their on-again-off-again wedding into two hours. Tom and Violet relocate from sunny San Francisco to frigid Michigan so that Violet can pursue her career in academia. Tom, poised to become head chef of a hot new seafood bar in the Bay Area, delays his dream and works in a sandwich shop while Violet gets closer to achieving her dream, and her boss.
Viewers will appreciate the film’s departure from the typical rom com formula. Tom and Violet become more than just characters with sarcastic one-liners, they slowly morph into a reflection of a real-life couple that struggles with the complexities of two individuals trying desperately to live one life. Things quickly go from “Nothing’s perfect” to “Nothing’s right” and they are left to decide whether the storybook ending they anticipated is worth writing in the first place.
But, “Elmo thinks there is no right cookie. You just have to pick one and take a bite.” (It’s one of those, you-had-to-be-there moments. And, trust me, you have to be there.)