Honestly, I put off seeing this. Jason Segal is good business, Emily Blunt is good business, Rhys Ifans is good business, Alison Brie is really good business, but the premise looked like it had a 50/50 chance of being decently done or just tiresome. And I’m getting pretty sick of wedding comedies or the trend that to have women play an active not-just-girlfriend role in a comedy it has to be either a wedding comedy or a baby comedy (or, irrelevant to this, a comedy about fashion).
But the cast won out over the theoretical premise, and I’m actually pretty glad it did.
This is not to say that there weren’t a couple of moments that made me facepalm. There were. The fact that Jason Segal’s Tom more than once said something about how he was a man and men don’t do that, or when he pulled the “that’s just what people do” card too (I severely dislike that as an excuse). The fact that a fair amount of the tension seemed to revolve around the fact that he was a man uprooting himself for a woman in the relationship, which is naturally just so!!! shocking!!!
The fact that of course Winton the professor (Rhys Ifans) would have to hit on Violet (Emily Blunt).
The fact that immediately after Susie (Alison Brie) gave a speech about how she wasn’t into marriage or kids or anything but congratulations you two she had to go and have sex with Alex (Chris Pratt) who she said she wasn’t going to have sex with and then get pregnant and then get married. Of couuurse. Because the only alternatives for women who say they don’t want to get married or have kids are then doing it, a la this, being secretly just saying it because they were bitter, or being shunned and judged a la Megan Fox’s character in Friends With Kids. God forbid a plot allow a woman to just want to not have kids or get married and have everyone else, including the writer, respect that.
But I digress. As comedies go, it was fairly realistic. Though Tom occasionally said punchable “but I am a man!” things, he was also a sympathetic character some of the time. Violet sometimes had valid points, and I understood her tendency to psychoanalyze every situation. I could look at both sides in the arguments that Tom and Violet had and see their points. That’s not unheard of, but it’s still refreshing. Nobody was 100% irrational all of the time.
Though I honestly thought that how they had the wedding at the end was what they should have done from the beginning. I was hoping when they started planning the ridiculous accordion/barbeque/whatever wedding, they were just going to elope or something. But then, that’s using silly logic, clearly. That would have been like if that episode of How I Met Your Mother where Marshall and Lily decided to go to Atlantic City had actually ended with them getting married then and there. Perhaps logical, but also perhaps unsatisfying for the majority of viewers.
Honestly, though, let’s talk about Alison Brie. I love the others, but I love her the most. Just in an always context and also in a this movie context. No, I don’t love what they did to her character re: the plot. And I fully admit my bias because I think she is adorable always. But even though the speech at the first engagement party was an elaborate setup for the silly plot, I just love her giving it. Trying to stay calm by talking in a deep voice. I appreciated that she didn’t start dressing differently or more “momlike” when she had children. I thought the singing at the end was silly, but it’s all right because I like when people I like sing cute. Also Alison Brie’s British accent was worthy of a thumbs-up.
And holy crap, the argument between Susie and Violet where Susie was being Elmo and Violet was being Cookie Monster. That was easily my favorite scene in the movie. Alison Brie’s Elmo voice was brilliant, and she had an Elmo face going too; Emily Blunt’s Cookie Monster was pretty good too. “C is for condommmm! That’s good enough for me.” Just. Perfect. And being someone who carries on entire conversations in voices sometimes, or at least someone who is willing to do this, I say congratulations. That is my kind of pop-culture humor.
Oh, and the “come as your own superhero” party? Well, I approve of Super Bunny, that is just weird and cool. I wanted to hear more of an explanation re: Princess Diana. And did Susie come as, like, the Dessert Princess or something? I approve of that too.
Also, a Swell Season cover thrown in there.
So… yes. I’d go ahead and sum that up as a pleasant surprise.
–your fangirl heroine.