A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Five-Year Engagement is a Judd Apatow-produced romantic comedy that stars Jason Segel and Emily Blunt as a couple who finds that, the longer their engagement lasts, the more potential problems they discover, and the harder it becomes for them to follow through on matrimony. There's tons of innuendo and adult sexual references, an extended sex scene with multiple positions (though no graphic nudity), a few scenes showing men naked from behind, and plenty of risque language (including "f--k," "s--t," and more). Overall, though, the tone is more "heartwarming romcom" (with a dash of bawdiness) than outright "raunchy comedy," and the film has worthwhile things to say about grown-up relationships.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After a grand proposal that goes adorably awry, Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt), who clearly adore each other, become engaged. But when Violet lands a prestigious fellowship at the University of Michigan, wedding plans grind to a halt so they can relocate. Though Tom is less than thrilled about quitting his job at a fancy San Francisco restaurant and moving to the Midwest, he tries to be supportive. But while Violet thrives, he founders, begins to withdraw, and, well, gets obsessive about distracting himself from his less-than-fulfilling life -- including finding myriad ways to cook venison. The longer they stay, the greater the toll it takes on their relationship, and it's clear the problem will only get worse when Violet's position is extended. Will they ever get married?
Is it any good?
The Five-Year Engagement isn't perfect (due to some overlong scenes and lowbrow humor), but it's better than so many others in this genre, and that's reason enough to love it.
Like a delicate souffle that flops when the balance is off, a romcom fails when there's too much cheese, not enough romance, extra servings of cliches, an overdose of fluff, or zero chemistry between the two leads. Luckily for THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT, it has the perfect amount of all the right ingredients -- heart, irreverent humor, snark, wit, and happily ever after -- for a winning film, one that might even hold a little wisdom in the end. Modern relationships are hard, and engagements in this age of doubt and disconnection can be harder still. So when viewers aren't laughing at sight gags involving awful sweaters and sociopathic psychological experiments, they'll find themselves wondering how Tom and Violet are supposed to make it work -- and cheering for them to do so.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Five-Year Engagement compares to other romantic comedies. Is it more believable than other movies? Why or why not?
How does it compare to other "Apatow-ian" comedies, which are generally known for being raunchy (if heartfelt)? Does it push the envelope as far? Why do so many comedies seem determined to cross as many lines as possible?
How does the movie portray sex? Were the sex scenes risque or funny? Do they have a point, other than to elicit laughs? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
Talk about the sacrifices that people make for love. Is it unusual for a film to focus on a man who makes sacrifices for the benefit of his partner's career?
- In theaters: April 27, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: August 28, 2012
- Cast: Chris Pratt, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel
- Director: Nicholas Stoller
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 124 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, and language throughout
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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