“There is no perfect cookie!”
Guy and girl meet, they go out, they like each other, they move in, they get engaged then they get married. That’s the stages love is supposed to go through, unless we’re adding in a few jokes about divorce and bitterness. So what if you kind of accidentally managed to be stunted at the engaged stage of love?
In the story of Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) life just happened to get in the way of them actually getting married. We follow the two of them from Violet saying yes to “will you marry me” to five-years later when they still have yet to say “I do”, and I’m not sure whether I consider this a good thing.
The relationship of Tom and Violet is the crux of the film that manages to keep it as good as it possibly can be. We see their loveable interactions which constantly keep us having that “awww” reaction, while at the same time giggling in the way we expect all romantic comedies to do. From references to sex as “the show” to Tom jumping onto a fire hydrant when he’s going towards a big pile of snow, we get the full display of these two being in love.
The question one has to ask is whether marriage is what’s really holding back these two from true happiness? What we witness Tom and Violet experience over the time is not unlike any romance, the only difference is that they don’t have the document binding the two of them together legally. I always like to remember the words of Louis C. K. in a time like this, “No happy marriage ever ended in divorce,” and I take solace in that whenever I hear some cute couple didn’t work out. Watching these two, with Tom going further and further into his regret for leaving his perfect life and job in San Francisco to move to Michigan so that Violet can start her perfect job in academia, is like watching someone play a game of chicken. Tom is just starring at the headlights getting bigger and bigger and we’re questioning how long he’ll hold steady before he pulls away, or if he’ll let it just crash and be consumed by Michigan.
In a film that has Jason Segel, Alison Brie, Chris Pratt, Mindy Kaling, Kevin Hart, Kumail Nanjiani, Molly Shannon, Brian Posehn and Chris Parnell I kind of expected the comedy to be less hit and miss as this film ended up being. The film almost forgets to have the typical setup and knockdown structure of scene to scene, moment to moment, that we expect of comedies, but instead looks for an odd character tone which basically leaves you with a feeling of the movie being funny without actually making you laugh that often. It’s almost like a joke where you tell it and you realize everyone around you isn’t laughing and you prop it up with the excuse of “you had to be there”. There are a lot of movies which make that idea work, but I’m willing to say this isn’t one of those. I’d like to call the comedy conceptual, but I think that I might be giving it too much credit there.