Tribeca opens with comedy "The Five-Year Engagement"

NEW YORK Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:52am IST

The outside of the New York State Supreme Courthouse is lit for a Vanity Fair party marking the beginning of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York, April 17, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The outside of the New York State Supreme Courthouse is lit for a Vanity Fair party marking the beginning of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York, April 17, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A lighthearted romantic comedy opened New York's Tribeca film festival on Wednesday bringing some crowd-pleasing laughs and a smattering of red carpet glamour before audiences settle into 12 days of mostly independent cinema.

The premiere of "The Five-Year Engagement," starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, by the same team behind "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," kicked off the festival which is entering its second decade with organizers promising a broader quality of films from all regions of the world.

Segel and Blunt were due to hit the red carpet for the movie in which they star as a couple rediscovering each other after they get engaged. The film is directed by Nicholas Stoller, who co-wrote the script with Segel who he first notably teamed up with on their 2008 "Marshall" box office hit.

"They realize that they didn't know each other quite as well as they thought. It's about how an engagement can get in the way of a relationship," Stoller told Reuters in a phone interview. "This is how inertia can destroy a relationship."

Compared to "Marshall," added Stoller, the characters were slightly older and the male and female perspective were offered more equally, but his new film would offer the same original, honest tones as "Marshall" and "Get Him to the Greek," which Stoller also co-wrote with Segel.

"We like things to be awkward and real like they are in real life. People don't often come out with the perfect phrase to explain a moment," he said. "That kind of awkwardness and reality makes for best comedy because people can see themselves in the characters."

Before "Get Him To The Greek," Stoller watched "Sid & Nancy," but for "The Five Year Engagement," he was inspired and meticulously studied "Broadcast News," "When Harry Met Sally" and "Annie Hall".

Movie producer Judd Apatow, actors Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudeikis, Jonah Hill and comedians Amy Poehler and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as well as the festival's co-founder Robert De Niro are also expected to attend the Tribeca opening on Wednesday.

De Niro helped set up the festival as a way to revive downtown Manhattan after the September 11 attacks.

This year, Tribeca will screen 89 feature films split between 57 fiction and 32 documentaries, including 50 world premieres.

It is the first year Tribeca organizers selected debut night films for the narrative and documentary competitions, and organizers said the overall program reflects a range of films from around the world. Half of its lineup of 12 fiction films in competition are listed as international productions.

The festival will return to more bigger budget Hollywood fare for its closing night film, the anticipated superhero blockbuster "The Avengers," to be screened on April 28.

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