Review in a Hurry: Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are a pair of lovebirds whose journey to ‘I do’ lasts more than a couple of years—five to be exact. Segel’s brand of unhinged mania is still funny. Rival couple Chris Pratt and Alison Brie are even funnier. And the dramatic stuff rings true. Still, from producer Judd Apatow (Bridesmaids), this is another overstuffed comedy that at nearly two hours can sometimes feel like all five of those years.
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The Bigger Picture: Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt) make up a near perfect couple who reside in a movie version of San Francisco. Tom is soon-to-be head chef at a swanky restaurant. Violet is pursuing her postdoctoral assignment in social psychology. They plan to wed within a year but that’s not the film’s title.
When Segel teamed up with writer/director Nicholas Stoller in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the funnyguy played a dude who lost his girlfriend because he lacked ambition and refused to grow up. Four years later, Segel’s playing a man with a career who wants nothing more than to marry the woman of his dream. Until, Blunt’s Violet puts her career before their relationship. Which results in Segel turning into a dude who lacks ambition and refuses to grow up. In all his roles, Jason Segel somehow makes losing it adorable.
A number of things keep stalling the Big Day but the biggest is Violet’s opportunity at University of Michigan. She’ll be under the tutelage of mentor Winton (Rhys Ifans). Unsurprisingly those high-paying restaurant gigs aren’t as plentiful in Ann Arbor. Tom ends up at a sandwich shack. The cold weather and the loss of a career leads Tom to oversize sweaters, deer hunting and some strange bee brew.
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Some of the best bits are Segel and Blunt dealing with the tensions that arise from a couple who might have outgrown each other by over-analyzing everything. Alex (Pratt) and Suzie (Brie) are sort of the anti-Tom and Violet: newlyweds who fall in love without trying. Maybe that’s the film’s point: Don’t over think it.
To wit, the film should have led by example.
Individual moments are strong but so strewn together it overwhelms. And it can be repetitive. Early on, Violet and her fellow grad students (including Mindy Kaling who gets to do nothing) set up a control group with doughnuts. The scene is mildly amusing but plays over and over. The point of the doughnuts is made clear later in a much more satisfying way making all that back and forth unnecessary.
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All these different aspects on the central story are enough to make anyone want to go nuts—in an adorable Segel-like way, of course.
The 180—a Second Opinion: It’s rather telling when the funniest moment is Blunt and Brie imitating Sesame Street‘s Cookie Monster and Elmo. While hilarious, it could have been put into any other Apatow flick.
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