[The Five Year Engagement]

Coming out of The Five Year Engagement, my strongest impressions were that it felt like it was about three days long and I was tremendously grateful I hadn’t paid to see it.

It’s just a bad movie. There is no real narrative tension. Tom (Jason Segel) & Violet (Emily Blunt) live together. They (spoiler!) get engaged. They are committed enough that they move across country together when one gets a great career opportunity, and yet this move is presented as an obstruction to an actual wedding ceremony, for reasons that I still do not understand. Have a wedding! It’s not that hard!

Not that it matters, because frankly, I don’t understand why they’re a couple in the first place. We’re shown their meet cute. Repeatedly. And on the basis of that we’re meant to believe that they are Made For Each Other. Maybe they are. They’re both basically jerks

The direction is mediocre, obviously the pacing as aforementioned is terrible, and it’s frequently flat-out offensive (racism & sexual assault are still not funny, sorry to say).

Two things about this movie are good. One of them is Mindy Kaling, obviously. The other is some amazing knitwear. Seriously. You have to be a brilliant knitter to knit things this poorly on purpose. Neither of these things are enough of a reason to see it. (Sorry, Mindy!)

However. If, after The Muppets, you are looking to be cured of a crush on Jason Segel, THIS IS THE MOVIE FOR YOU. Tom is a jackass who thinks he’s adorable, & there are many, many close-ups of him with extremely unfortunate facial hair. I don’t know about the rest of you, but now I’m cured.

[DVD roundup]

Once the film festival ended, I reactivated my Netflix account. Oh, you lucky people!

* Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Not my favorite of the Apatovian genre, but these two things I much adored: Paul Rudd being decidedly not typical Paul Rudd, and the puppet vampire musical. I swear, if people had told me earlier about the musical, I would have seen the damn thing in the theater. This probably says too much about me.

* Old Joy. Two old friends reunite for a road trip to a hot springs in the Cascades. Humpday totally lifted these character types, making Old Joy the interesting & awkward, reconnecting-masculine-friendship part of Humpday without the angry-making trading on straight privilege in pursuit of ‘art’. I actually got it because it’s from the same director as Wendy & Lucy, which is one of my favorite films so far this year. Old Joy is good, but Wendy & Lucy is better. (No, I am not just saying this because I love Michelle Williams.)

* Gran Torino is a difficult movie to pin down. It was extremely effective storytelling (also, which no one has mentioned, gorgeous cinematography), but I finished it with a lot of complicated feelings about the racial politics of it, a problem regarding which others have spoken better than I could manage in general, let alone in a capsule post.

* The Wrestler. I missed an opportunity to see this for free before it came out, and I am glad I did. I think the fighting scenes in particular would have been too intense, but at home on the TV the impact was lessened to some extent. Still compelling, though.

* Nothing but the Truth. I think this went straight to video, which is unfortunate. It’s a solid film with a stronge ensemble including the always-worth-watching Vera Farmiga, story inspired by the Valerie Plame case. Good stuff.