If a five year engagement sounds like a drag, try sitting through this movie. Bar ticking a few comfortably familiar generic clichés, The Five-Year Engagement ultimately takes the “com” out of romcom. All the stomach cramp inducing belly laughs we’d expect from the director and writer-star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the producer of Bridesmaids are nowhere to be found; the names “Nicholas Stoller”, “Jason Segel” and “Judd Apattow” on the titles feeling like a breech of the trade description act. Disappointment abounds.

Precisely one year after they first meet at a New Year’s Eve costume party, Tom (Jason Segel) proposes to Violet (Emily Blunt) atop the restaurant at which he is a successful sous chef. With the lights of the Golden Gate Bridge twinkling in the background, Violet accepts, and everything looks set to go perfectly. However, when Violet is soon rejected from her dream job in the psychology department at UC Berkeley, and instead lands a place teaching at the University of Michigan, Tom swallows his pride and agrees to move to the Midwest to support Violet’s academic career.

While Violet’s career flourishes under the lustful eye of her boss Winton (Rhys Ifans), Tom lands a job making sandwiches in a deli. As his belly and beard grow, so does his resentment, and hopes of a wedding date become increasingly remote. Meanwhile, at Tom and Violet’s engagement party, Tom’s best friend and colleague Alex hooks up with Violet’s sister Suzie, who falls pregnant, prompting the unlikely pair to marry. After swiftly having two children, and Alex receiving the promotion Tom would have got at the restaurant, Alex and Suzie begin to resemble the perfect family, ever antagonizing Violet and Tom.

Focusing on the “reality” of a long-term relationship then, on that crucial confliction between love-life and career, writers Stoller and Segel had every intention of bringing audiences a more adult irreverent comedy this time round. Ironically however, The Five Year Engagement never reaches full maturity itself. If it’s a film for those who’ve already settled, they’re going to have to settle for less… less laughs than Sarah Marshall or Bridesmaids. It’s around the time that we’re introduced to the unimaginative and under-developed in-laws that you’ll be wondering what went wrong with the writing.

Yet, although it’s by no means a laugh riot, it does extract the odd chuckle. There are some nice abrupt comedic cuts, which play on juxtapositions, as well as some amusing elaborate set pieces, like a filthy food-fight sex scene. There is also an interesting attempted marriage (excuse the pun) of that kind of American slapstick humour that is hinged on ridiculousness from Segel, and a more English dry humour from Blunt. Missing the mark though, the characters’ behaviour often isn’t comically ridiculous, just irrational and unconvincing. In fact, the humour only verges on intelligent when it hits the nail on the head with a truism we can relate to, like texting yourself when you’re drunk so you remember something that happened, or mercilessly cursing your sibling for outdoing you.

In terms of casting, Segel and Blunt do have an onscreen chemistry, meaning that we buy them as a couple, albeit a surprising one. And, as in any underwhelming film Blunt perplexingly agrees to, she does seem to save the day, here salvaging some of the heartiness that the narrative lacks with a likeable and natural performance. It’s difficult to determine whether Ifans does a bad job or his character is just scripted badly, sitting awkwardly somewhere between conceited arsehole and stiff competition for Tom. Overall, the acting just gives off a sense of lethargy, lines delivered without totally conviction.

Before shrewdly concluding that The Five-Year Engagement falls flat on its face then, as both undeveloped and unoriginal, it is only fair to acknowledge its redeeming features, like a Van Morrison soundtrack, and an adorably cute chick-flick-hall-of-fame worthy finale. Cue singing and snogging. In fact, the ending might even elicit a few tears for Tom and Violet, but probably only because the film as a whole goes on for so perilously long, you feel like you’ve actually known the characters for five years.