The team behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall reunite for another rocky comic romance with Jason Segel and Emily Blunt as a couple who get engaged within a year of meeting but seem destined never to tie the knot. From career moves and cold feet to the psychology of doughnuts, this Judd Apatow production addresses grown-up issues with a rudely healthy sense of humour. Rhys Ifans leads the congregation of dearly beloved supporting characters gathered here today.
After exploring the pitfalls of being a virgin at 40, having sex with strangers, and generally getting involved with drugs in any way, comedy counsellor Judd Apatow here advises the maritally minded to keep the gap between popping the question and setting the date as short as possible.
Though acting solely as producer, Apatow's stamp is all over this reunion for Forgetting Sarah Marshall's writer-star Segel and director Nick Stoller, from gags that extend from frathouse to lecture hall to a running time that would have Cecil B. De Mille checking his watch.
Once again Segel makes himself the romantic lead opposite an unbelievable hottie as San Francisco sous chef Tom, who bunglingly proposes to his girlfriend - English psychology scholar Violet (Blunt) - exactly a year after they first met. Luckily, she accepts.
Unfortunately, fate conspires to keep their wedding plans on permanent hold. First, Tom's knuckleheaded best friend (Chris Pratt) and Violet's sister (Mad Men's Alison Brie) beat them to it.
Then Violet is offered a post-doctorate position in Michigan. For the sake of togetherness, Tom sacrifices his job to go with her.
But while her doughnut theory makes her a star in the twinkling eyes of faculty professor Winton (Ifans), Tom gradually devolves from sophisticated masterchef to sandwich-slinging mountain man.
Time goes by. Resentments surface. Doubts set in. And their relatives aren't getting any younger.
Unfortunately, while quirky characters abound, none are particularly original.
And for every episode and indiscretion that draws pessimistic mirth (and, topped by the incident of the kid and the crossbow, there are several), there's another that ends awkwardly for all the wrong reasons.
Overly reliant on inappropriate toasts, snowy pratfalls, knob jokes, and patchy improvisation (the "pickle list" is a straight steal from Christopher Guest's nut monologue in Best In Show), the comedy ebbs as often as it flows.
A decent edit would sort that out. Sadly, there's no getting around the obvious lack of chemistry between Blunt and her doughily bland co-star.
As writer at least, you'd hope that Segel might have a more realistic sense of his own charm. But no, apparently the ladies are falling over themselves to jump his well-padded bones. Pity Blunt never got the memo.
Only when they argue does the relationship ring true. Otherwise the poor girl looks like she's being forced to marry a Muppet. Which, in an honorary sense, is what Segel is.
Ironically, the happiest occasions come when one or the other isn't around. The good times are good, but when an engagement goes on this long, the odd case of cold feet is inevitable.