Film Review: “FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT” has the wedding bell blues

Our host, Stefanie Alleyne sits down with today’s panelist, Carmen Mathis, to discuss the romantic comedy, “Five Year Engagement,” at a Brooklyn bar favorite, Fulton Grand located in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Co-written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller and directed by Nicholas Stoller, “Five Year Engagement,” is a romantic comedy that stars Emily Blunt and Jason Segel as a couple who just can’t seem to get to the church on time.  The story begins in San Francisco, CA, where Tom, played by Jason Segel, is a rock-star-chef-in-the-making and Violet, played by Emily Blunt, is his adorable British girlfriend, committing to doing post graduate work.  After having just spent one glorious year together, they become engaged. As so often happens in this game of life, our couple is confronted with making decisions that threaten their bond and commitment to one and other.

Not wanting to give up or give in to such minor obstacles, they forge forward leaving the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco behind for greener and very snowy pastures in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a university town where Violet will pursue her post work and Tom will discover just how much he will endure in the name of love. The story offers some interesting twists and turns and tons of slippery roads ahead for this dynamic duo. The film features a number of fresh faces who give performances who light up the screen including Chris Pratt, of “Parks and Recreation” who is hilarious as Tom’s best friend; Allison Brie of “Community,” who effortlessly fakes a British accent while playing Violet’s younger sister; and Kevin Hart, currently featured in the popular hit film, “Act like a Woman, Think like a Man” as the token black man confronting his fish-out-of-water issues in addition to others.  Even Molly Shannon pops up for a cameo performance.

This is a story written by two guys who are in touch with the world around them and their feminine sides. Often very touching, it does have its funny moments. But, what really is the surprise here is the depth of diversity we are allowed to observe.  A Jewish guy is marrying a Catholic girl, a California lesbian who admits to voting for Proposition 8 and we have a love story that takes place in a small town in the Midwest (instead of Los Angeles or New York). We meet characters of diverse nationalities, we observe the woman character getting a chance to follow her chosen career path and even the soundtrack features some great classics including a number of them by Van Morrison…I mean, really…what’s not to like here? As the guy sitting behind me in the theatre said to his friend as the credits rolled by and up, it was about a half an hour too long. And there, my friends, lies the inherent problem, because you actually feel each of those extra 30 minutes. Brush that under the rug, and the legacy that is Apatow will continue to fly through the air with the greatest of ease.
(Be sure and check our their hilarious faux wedding blog at

More About our Fabulous Panel

Carmen Mathis is an actor, director (theatre) and playwright.  Her acting career spans over 30 years with performances on stage, film and television. Her plays, 30 Years in the Life of Cleopatra Jackson (1998) and The Oldies Dance (2001) were produced by Theater for the New City.  She is currently adapting another play, Three Biddies and a Sprite (2009) into a futuristic fantasy film.  Carmen is the Executive Producer and Host of “The Carmen Mathis Show,” a variety show which presents talented singers, actors, dancers, comedians, poets and musicians.  The show airs every other Thursday at 9:30 PM on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) on , Lifestyle Channel 2 and Time Warner Cable Channel 56, RCN Channel 83 and Verizon FiOS Channel 34.
Contact:, Facebook: Carmen A. Mathis; Twitter: @carmenmathis.

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