The Five-Year Engagement

A comedy about the journey between popping the question and tying the knot.

Emily as: Violet Barnes
Genre(s): Romance | Comedy
Written by: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Other Cast: Jason Segel, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans
Release Date: April 27, 2012
Production Budget: $30m
Total Worldwide Gross: $53.9m
Filming Locations: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA and San Francisco, California, USA

From the duo behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall comes this “charming, funny” romantic comedy that leaves the conventions of the genre behind. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star as the smitten young couple whose journey down the aisle hits a series of speed bumps that threatens to tear them apart. Can they get past their respective differences and career aspirations to make it work?

Production Info

  • Production began in Detroit, Michigan on April 26, 2011.
  • Emily Blunt provided Alison Brie with a three-minute recording of herself in order to help the American actress master the London accent she used in the film.
  • The dress Violet wears at Suzy’s wedding is the same dress that Suzy wears at Violet’s impromptu wedding.
  • Zingerman’s, the restaurant where Tom works after moving to Michigan, is a real delicatessen in Ann Arbor that first opened in 1982.
  • Almost all of the restaurant scenes are shot inside the MGM Grand Detroit.
  • The “marshmallow test” that Violet shows to the professor and her fellow students during a meeting was not invented for a movie. It’s a real long-standing psychological study used to see how little kids would handle issues such as temptation, self-control, and honesty. However, there is no evidence that a version that Violet suggests (one aimed entirely at adults with some element changes) has ever been carried out in real life.
  • The photo used next to the ‘City Eats’ article about Tom’s food truck is the actual promotional shot of Jason Segel taken for the sixth season of How I Met Your Mother.
  • Segel and Stoller revealed that they had Blunt give input on how Violet would act in different situations throughout the film. For example, at one point in the comedy, Segel’s character is really depressed, and his personal hygiene and appearance are suffering. Blunt suggested that Violet should “sweep everything under the carpet” and just pretend everything is fine. “It’s a very British thing,” she said.
  • Character Quotes

  • Let’s just go to my sister’s party. Let’s get you a drink. I think you probably need one. We’ll have a bit of a dance. I want to get weird with you tonight.
  • How are you supposed to even pick a dress from a magazine? Look at all of them, they’re all just white and puffy and stupid.
  • I didn’t get into Berkeley. It was the perfect teaching job. It was local. Eight years of studying just down the tube. I’m going to be married within the year. I’m gonna be pregnant within two years and no career, I’ll just be changing nappies and washing dishes and making apple pie. And I want that, I want it all, but I want to have the career as well. It’s not enough for me.
  • Look, I know our plans changed, but they changed because I did well, and I know it doesn’t feel like that to you, but maybe it’s a good thing that they changed.
  • I don’t get the fact that my fiance behaves like a freak.
  • I don’t know what we’ve been doing. I have no idea why we’ve been putting it off and waiting and shifting and this and that, and dicking around. It’s like… I just love you so much. Madly. So badly, Tom. I just wannna… I just wanna get married.
  • Did you just fake orgasm?
  • I think I’ve made you very, very unhappy here. You know, and I don’t know how to make it right anymore.
  • I don’t think that we can figure out all of our problems before we get married. And I’m pretty sure we’ll have some after. But I promise you that I will just love you every step of the way.
  • Tom: I was gonna ask you to marry me tonight.
    Violet: Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God. Oh, no, I love you.
    Tom: I love you.
    Violet: Oh, I love you.
    Tom: I love you.
    Violet: Oh, no. Did you have something planned? And I questioned you too much, didn’t I?
    Tom: We had a plan. It was sort of like a skit about the receipts.
    Violet: With the receipts. Oh, just do the thing, I want the thing. Please do the thing with the receipts. I’ve been dreaming about those receipts since I was a little girl.
  • Violet: Gideon, stop crying.
    Gideon: This is an emotional moment.
    Violet: No, this is an emotional moment for Tom and I. You are a guest at our emotional moment.
  • Tom: Not to be competitive, but our wedding is gonna be way better.
    Violet: Absolutely. Theirs was pretty, but I was very cold.
    Tom: Okay, right?
    Violet: Yeah.
    Tom: I was chilly the whole time.
    Violet: It was very chilly. [Pauses] It was beautiful, wasn’t it?
    Tom: Fuck those guys.
    Violet: Fuck.
  • Tom: Can I just say something?
    Violet: Yeah.
    Tom: I think we both know that I deserve to get super laid for this.
    Violet: Do you want me to wear a cape or something?
    Tom: I mean, theoretically, whatever you want. I’m just saying I don’t want weekday sex.
    Violet: You’re guilt-sexing me!
    Tom: I want a show. I want the show.
    Violet: You’re gonna get the show.
    Tom: Good, I better.
    Violet: You’re gonna get the Circque du Soleil of shows.
  • Violet: That snow looks nice.
    Tom: It’s fine. Yeah, looks fine.
    Violet: Do you wanna roll around with me in it and get weird?
    Tom: You mean, like…
    Violet: Yeah! No one’s around. Let’s get into Michigan life.
    Tom: Okay, it sounds great, it does. There is one issue.
    Violet: What?
    Tom: It’s very cold out.
    Violet: So what?
    Tom: My penis is going to look super-small for a second.
    Violet: I’ve seen your penis every single way.
    Tom: Not this small.
    Violet: Take your pants off. Let’s do it.
  • Violet: I love you, and you love me. And I just think that, why on Earth would we put it off any longer?
    Tom: Because… I’ll tell you why we put it off. Because we both decided we had too many problems and we were going to put the wedding off until things got better.
    Violet: Which was dumb as balls. That was so dumb, Tom. And I have been dumb, saying that.
  • Gideon: So, how are you and Tom? Any kids yet?
    Violet: Mmm… No. Tom and I split up a little while ago, so…
    Gideon: I’m sorry. It has been four years, of course.
    Violet: Hmm?
    Gideon: Nothing. I…
    Violet: No, go on. What? “Four years, of course” what? Doesn’t make sense.
    Gideon: That’s what you do.
    Violet: Is it? Is it what I do? Well, let me just tell you something. Tom and I split up because it wasn’t working. Not because we weren’t perfect enough for each other. Not because I had him on a four-year timeline.
  • Suzie: [In Elmo voice] Elmo thinks time will tell.
    Violet: Would you mind not doing that Elmo voice? ‘Cause really, you’re repeating back what I’m saying.
    Suzie: Honestly, Elmo thinks you should shit or get off the pot.
    Violet: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!
    Vanessa: Aunt Violet, do Cookie Monster.
    Violet: [In Cookie Monster voice] Me think that’s a really rude thing to say, Elmo.
    Suzie: Elmo say it been five years, almost five years. You either love him or you don’t.
    Violet: Me love him, but it’s very complicated. Cookie doesn’t get everything handed to him on a fucking silver platter like Elmo.
    Suzie: Cookie got the career he wanted. Tom moved to Michigan so Cookie could work. Okay. Elmo wanted to be a kinesiologist and instead, Elmo is cleaning puke off her shirt every day.
    Violet: Well, maybe as nice as these little Elmos are, Elmo should have considered using protection. “C” is for condom. That’s good enough for me.
    Suzie: Elmo is very happy with Elmo’s little Elmo’s, okay? Elmo would just like a break once in a while.
    Violet: Fine.
    Suzie: Elmo never gets a break.
    Violet: This is fine. But this is precisely why Cookie wants to take the time to consider if he’s picked the right cookie for his life.
  • Quoting: Emily Blunt

    On her character: You can see that Violet isn’t fulfilled at the very beginning of the movie, and then she finds her place in the world, she feels, when she moves to Michigan and she has this fantastic job. Yet she can see that it’s making her other half suffer, and even though she wants to embolden him and help him and be there for him, he shouldn’t martyr himself either. It becomes quite complex as to how she feels in the moment. I think it’s no bad thing that Violet’s a tenacious girl. I think its no bad thing that Violet is following her dreams. I don’t think she’s heartlessly doing so. I think she defiantly gets swept up in it for sure, and she’s hoping that Tom will be able to survive in this environment as he’s promised her he would be able to, so its complex.

    On Tom and Violet’s relationship: The two of them are incredibly hopeful at the beginning of the movie. And there’s a sense of naivety about what it will entail in order to make this relationship work.

    On taking comedic roles: Making those films that can brighten up someone’s day and really make them laugh till they cry is so rewarding for me. If people come up to me and say, “I was having the worst day, and then I saw that movie, and I pissed my pants.” And I think that for me is a big plus.

    On her attraction to the role: Jason mentioned that he and Nick we re writing something called The Five-Year Engagement and were thinking about me for a role. I was instantly drawn to how collaborative that sounded. When I sat down with them, it was quickly apparent that I wouldn’t just be the reactionary girlfriend. Jason and I would be going head-to-head.

    On the script: The story dealt with fundamental issues within a relationship, how the dynamics can shift on a daily basis depending upon how one person’s feeling and how that affects the other person. It captured that tug of war between two people, and all the wonderful things that can happen when you’re in love.

    On the collaborative process: My favorite processes on films are when it’s really collaborative. What these guys did is every new actor that signed on, they would do a complete rewrite just with that character in mind, and that’s why all the characters feel kind of juicy and rich.

    On filming the bed fighting scenes: It was fun shooting that scene, because I think we were really trying to make it real, like what really happens when you can’t stop fighting. What happens? You make up and then someone says something that just tips it over into that awful descent again, then you make it up. It just sort of goes and peaks in troughs all night. It was a lot of fun to shoot. We actually shot it all night, and it was so much fun.

    On working with Nicholas Stoller: Nick makes you feel confident enough to try anything, even if you think you look stupid. But he likes to give it a try because you don’t know until you do.

    On working with Rhys Ifans: Rhys is one of the best people on the planet. He is so brilliant in this role, and there’s no one else who could’ve played it. He plays it with such bizarre, loaded intensity. You see Winton as this charismatic man and can see why Violet would be drawn to him as Tom descends into weirdness.

    On working with Alison Brie: I have a very flat London accent-harder to do than the Queen’s English, which is a bit more obvious. I sent Alison recordings of my voice, just talking to her, and when I came to Michigan to start filming, she sounded like me!

    on working with Chris Pratt: You never knew what Chris was going to say. It was a bit precarious because the whole time I was on edge and trying to get ahead of myself to stop laughing, but he kept tripping me up and throwing in new stuff. In one scene, he just went off on a rant. I could listen to Chris shout all day.

    Quoting: Cast and Crew

    Director Nicholas Stoller: The key to any romantic comedy is that the guy and the girl keep up with each other, and Emily and Jason do just that. They have awesome chemistry and are good friends off camera. Besides being an incredible actor, Emily’s a strong presence and a great sparring partner for Jason.

    Producer Judd Apatow: We’ve tried to snare Emily for other projects, and this is the first time we’ve sucked her in. We thought the fact that Emily and Jason have such a great friendship would make their relationship seem more real on screen, and it does. She’s not messing around.

    Writer and Co-star Jason Segel: Emily came in and was amazing. Once her character becomes tenured in Ann Arbor, she has the power position and you watch her have to handle her fiancé having nothing to do and seeing him in a different light. He’s not the life of the party anymore. Dealing with a depressed spouse is a difficult thing.

    Writer and Co-star Jason Segel: Emily’s really capable of anything. I’m in awe of everything she can do. She can be elegant, she can be a tomboy, she can be funny, she can be serious, but you always believe what she’s doing. You never feel that she’s ‘efforting’ at anything and it astounds me.

    Critical Response

    David Denby, The New Yorker: As Tom’s girlfriend, Violet, who has a Ph.D. in psychology, Blunt, with her fine dark-blue eyes and plush mouth, plays off her natural British incisiveness with occasional bouts of sweet, wandering uncertainty. Violet is ambitious, but she is decent and loving, too, so she’s often in conflict.

    Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: Blunt has never been more relaxed, and she and Segel have a believably warm chemistry. It’s also nice to find a romantic comedy with so much respect for both its leads: there are no heroes or villains here, just funny, likable characters figuring out modern life together.

    Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Blunt, the spiky British actress who has brightened many films since her breakthrough in The Devil Wears Prada, plays Violet, a smart, determined psychology graduate student who doesn’t let love get in the way of her career plans. This seems like another breakthrough for Blunt, who demonstrates an ample gift for physical comedy. She and Segel make an inspired team.

    Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Blunt and Segel look like people who belong together, which is essential to The Five-Year Engagement. They seem crazy about each other, but not crazy. As befits a couple contemplating marriage, there’s no stress between them. The interaction is relaxed and natural. Here and elsewhere, Segel is really good at playing a warm, modest, considerate guy, and Blunt has evolved since emerging six years ago in The Devil Wears Prada. Once brittle, she is now open and spontaneous. Some of her best moments have an improvised feeling about them, that of an actress connecting with her co-star and working in complete freedom.

    A.O. Scott, New York Times: Mr. Segel and Ms. Blunt, to their great credit, are funny as well as genial, but they are careful here to stake out a middle ground of safe relatability in the midst of all the zaniness around them. They are not as spikily individual as the great warring couples of the screwball era, but neither are they as generic as the interchangeable hunks and hotties who flock to the altar every spring in our own anxious cinematic era.

    Awards and Nominations

    Below is a list of all accolades Emily has received for her role in the film.

    NOMINATED: People’s Choice Awards – Favorite Comedic Movie Actress