Blunt and Segel are an unlikely but charming match in this quirky comedy about what happens when life gets in the way of plans.
Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) have just got engaged. Tom is a sous chef at his classy San Francisco restaurant, Violet is an academic waiting for confirmation of a teaching placement. But when an offer arrives inviting her to the University of Michigan, Tom is more than happy for them to up sticks- and delay the wedding by two years. Until, that is, they arrive, and Violet’s success soon outstrips Tom’s attempts at finding a decent job. How will they cope with competing careers, and will they ever get married?
The story offers a compelling and thoroughly modern issue facing many couples now. With both partners (quite rightly) wanting to be breadwinners, one can rely too much upon the chance that their careers will keep them in similar postcode areas- and if not, who must make the sacrifice? In this case it’s Tom, who ends up making fast-food sandwiches and befriending the locals whilst Violet engages in revealing psychological experiments and catches the eye of her boss (A perfect Rhys Ifans- can he do no wrong?). Blunt is fantastic in the role- and has an unexpected dynamic with her co-star Segel, who has crafted for himself a ‘type’ as the loveable yet slightly down on his luck.
Up to the second act, the movie enjoys more than a few laugh-out-loud scenes and some great one-liners, particularly in the case of Tom’s best man (Chris Pratt) and Violet’s sister (Alison Brie), who hook up at the engagement party and are married by the half-way point. The script, co-penned by Segel himself, is suitably edgy and realistic, echoing the style of writer/director Nicholas Stoller’s earlier Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But by act two, it gets a little uncomfortable as Tom loses the plot, and so do we. The cracks are appearing and what began as a hugely enjoyable quirky comedy becomes something a bit heavier, carrying a message about the responsibilities a couple has to each other.
Ultimately, it finds its way and they poignantly go their separate ways as we move into the third act. Will they work it out? Come on, it’s a romantic comedy. It has its flaws like every relationship, but what’s important is that you really feel for Tom and Violet- and you’ll be cheering them on to the final frame.
Sometimes clumsy but original and enjoyable quirky comedy. ****