Vicki Briganti – CW50 Writer / Producer / Editor
They meet at a costume party on New Year’s Eve. He’s dressed as Super Bunny. She’s Princess Diana. She spots him from across the room and asks her friend, “Who is that cute bunny?” One year later, he asks her to marry him.
So begins the love story of Tom and Violet.
Living together in San Francisco, Tom (Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) is a chef and Violet (Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada) is waiting to hear if she’s accepted into a program at UC Berkeley. (Spoiler alert: She’s not.)
They weather a few comical rehearsal dinner parties. He follows her from San Francisco to Ann Arbor so she can pursue a career as professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. He makes sandwiches at Zingerman’s Deli. His co-workers laugh and point fingers. They snicker, “You left San Francisco to come to Michigan?!”
Tom and Violet’s relationship is strained when their engagement is continually extended. He isn’t happy in Michigan. “I hate it here,” says Tom. “You can’t get fresh clams.” But he loves Violet, so he tries to adapt to the climate by hunting for deer, wearing crochet sweaters, and becoming an amateur beekeeper.
Will they go their separate ways or can they find enough common ground to actually tie the knot?
Live Long And Prosper
I don’t think the trailer does this film justice. The Five-Year Engagement is a two-star, light-hearted rom-com with enough funny scenes to keep you, um, engaged.
Since Judd Apatow is a producer, I should have known it would be funny. Is there a recent comedy that guy didn’t produce? The 40-Year Old Virgin. Knocked Up. Superbad. Pineapple Express. Bridesmaids. Wanderlust. Apatow’s resume is a veritable smorgasbord of hits.
Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are a great team and seem to be having a good time together. Same goes for Tom’s best friend, Alex (Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation), and Violet’s sister, Suzie (Alison Brie, Mad Men). One of the funniest scenes is Tom having brunch with his parents. Tom’s well-meaning mom bluntly tells him how she feels about his relationship with Violet.
In Hollywood movies, if a city is featured, it’s usually Los Angeles or New York City. How refreshing to see Michigan’s very own Ann Arbor showcased! Seva. Café Zola. Chelsea Flowers. Gratzi. Jefferson Market. The Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau must be thrilled with such positive exposure.
Since Violet joins the staff of the psychology department, the University of Michigan is also a star. There are images on campus of the diag, the law quad, and a scene on Liberty. U-M is my alma mater, so I enjoyed visually revisiting familiar favorites.
The extras in the film were cast locally by a Clawson, Michigan company: Real Style rsol.us. Co-founder Kathy Remski has thus far only seen outtakes, but admits the team working on The Five-Year Engagement was great. “When you are filming a romantic comedy like 5 year, everyone is committed to producing a great film, but they are also having fun in the process,” says Remski. “It looks like it will be a fun movie to see.”
Will more movies be filmed in Michigan soon? “The industry, unfortunately, has been at a stand still,” says Remski. “We’ve heard some films have been green lit through the film office, but no production has crewed up as of yet.”
Hopefully, changes in Michigan film incentives won’t scare Hollywood away, and we’ll see more films starring Ann Arbor and Michigan in the near future.
The Five-Year Engagement opens in theatres April 27th. The official website is thefiveyearengagementmovie.com.
>> More Motor City Musing With Vicki Briganti