The Five-Year-Engagement – Crossdressing

For a few years Judd Apatow and his friends have been redefining the romantic comedy genre. Once Doris Day and Rock Hudson played only a bit with the roles of the sexes just to manifest the classical role model at the end of the film. Emily Blunt and Jason Segel are really turning the tables in Nicholas Stoller`s film „The Five-Year-Engagement“: She is carving out a career as psychologist at the university, wherefore the engaged couple has to move to the backwoods of Michigan, and which is why he has to give up his perfect job as executive chef in a current restaurant in San Francisco. At the beginning they want to stay in the province only for one year, but the title discloses it already: they will stay for five years.

Juicy is furthermore that they actually want to marry, their families are planning the big event, but because of the abrupt move the wedding is postponed. Generally romantic comedies are ending with the wedding. The witty german poet Kurt Tucholsky statet with good reasons in his poem „Afterwards“ (Danach) „Why they commonly stop down at the happy end of a film“ (Und darum wird beim Happy End im Film jewöhnlich abjeblendt?). It is better not to see what the dream couple is doing after the wedding. It is too disenchanting. But our film shows exactly that. Judd Apatow and his crew show us everytime, what is happening afterwards or what we should not see. In „Bridesmaids“ we are witnessing a handful of ladies having the runs in a posh wedding gown boutique and „The Hangover“ presents us the day after a crazy spirituous night. In „The Five-Year-Engagement“ we are watching the daily routine of a marriage lasting five years without a wedding, including the separation at the end. Superfluous to say, that even this rom-com will have a happy end.

As usual it is the man who makes the marriage proposal in the first scences of the film. He behaves stupidly. The scheduled event, sitting on the roofgarden, eating a noble menu, drinking champaign turns into a farce. Unfortunately and by mistake he puts open his plan, but she is excited, altough it is no surprise anymore. They decide to act as if it were a surprise. They play theatre for themselves. It reveals a today`s fashionable mode of thought: Never mind that we only pretend to do something, it will be working. Don`t we find the same structure in the way how we celebrating Christmas? As atheistic believers we act every year like in an historical drama, that takes place in our own house. Not only for the children also for ourselves we pretend to celebrate Christmas eve in the ancient style (manger, Christmas tree, churchgoing and so on) the Christmas magic without believe. In our film the protagonists pretend romantic without romantic. Merely one step apart from love without love.

In the failed marriage proposal of the man rests perhaps the crux. They are`nt ready for the risk of love. The film tells us in a funny way the tragedy of the young generation and the doom of the patriarchal hegemony. Because in the end of the film it is the woman who makes the marriage proposal. And the man reacts like a little girl. By taking drastic measures – which I do not reveal here – the long-awaited marriage succeeds in a few minutes. Actually Jason Segal would have to wear the bridal dress. But one should not carry it too far.

Leave A Comment