Raunch king Judd Apatow has gone respectable.
His newest movie, the likable but overstuffed "The Five-Year Engagement," opened the 11th annual Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan last night.
Apatow (“Funny People”) is a producer on the romantic comedy, which at its bawdiest features nothing more shocking than star Jason Segel’s naked backside and a twosome amorously smearing each other with potato salad.
The film, which opens nationally April 27, stars Segel and Emily Blunt. They play an engaged couple that keeps encountering obstacles that push back their wedding plans.
He’s a fancy chef and she’s a graduate student in psychology. When they move to Ann Arbor, Mich. from San Francisco for her career, things start to fall apart.
The movie, which clocks in at just over 2 hours, would have benefited from more rigorous cutting. Segel spends much of the film moping and a little of his moping goes a very long way. Blunt was game for the comic shenanigans, but doesn’t have much to play in the way of a character.
Director Nicholas Stoller (“Get Him to the Greek”), who cowrote “Five-Year” with Segel, told the festival’s opening night audience before the film began, “My wife is here tonight so, no, the movie is not autobiographical.”
He also joked, “Marriage is a three- ring circus. There’s the engagement ring, the marriage ring, and then the suffering.” Bah-boom.
“Five-Year Engagement” unspooled at the 1,131-seat Ziegfeld Theatre in midtown, though the rest of the 10-day festival’s screenings, panels and other events will take place further downtown in Manhattan. The Tribeca festival was started by actor Robert De Niro, production company partner Jane Rosenthal and others after 9/11; the festival’s early goal was to help bring business back to downtown Manhattan.
Before the movie, Apatow walked the red carpet at the Ziegfeld, as did Segel and Blunt. Other guests included Olivia Wilde, Kim Catrall, Michael Moore, Elizabeth Banks, Bill Hader, Shaun White, and Amy Poehler, who starred with Tina Fey in “Baby Mama,” which opened the festival in 2008.
After the movie was over, many opening night attendees trooped east a block on West 54th Street to the Museum of Modern Art for a post-premiere party. At MOMA, beneath giant canvases by the late Helen Frankenthaler and other artists, guests grabbed drinks, loaded up plates with “Five-Year” wedding buffet-themed food (onion rings, grilled arctic char, mac and cheese, etc.) and indulged in a little star-spotting.
Segal cruised by with actress Michelle Williams, with whom he’s keeping company. Julia Louis-Dreyfus stayed close to husband Brad Hall as they climbed the stairs -- beneath a helicopter hanging overhead, suspended on wires -- to MOMA’s second floor.
The festival continues at various downtown Manhattan venues through April 29.