By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist December 22, 2010 at 2:30AM
"Our Goal Is 'Annie Hall' Or 'When Harry Met Sally'," Film Likely To Shoot In April
We've said it before, but the state of the modern romantic comedy is a pretty lamentable one. Contrived, lazy, laugh-free films such as "Leap Year," "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and "Valentine's Day" have tainted to the genre to the extent that when the decent, but flawed, likes of "(500) Days Of Summer" come along, they're treated like the second coming of Preston Sturges.
The next person hoping to revitalize the romantic comedy is Apatow graduate Jason Segel. Having had a modest hit by co-writing and starring in, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," as well as a regular role in the increasingly popular sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," Segel's certainly got form in the genre, and, while he's currently waylaid by "The Muppet Movie" which he co-wrote with Nicholas Stoller and will star in, he's also been working away on a rom-com script called "Five Year Engagement."
Emily Blunt was rumored to be joining Segel in the project a few weeks ago, and while details beyond Segel's vague description of the project being about "the fluidity of relationships in your 20s" were few, the writer-actor opened up to EW a little about the project, while promoting the as-dismal-as-you'd-expect "Gulliver's Travels." He doesn't mention Blunt's involvement, suggesting that talks, if they ever existed, are still ongoing, but Segel does reveal that the project is set to go before cameras in April, during his hiatus on "How I Met Your Mother."
Segel also reveals that the project is aiming fairly high saying, "Our goal is 'Annie Hall' or 'When Harry Met Sally,' and if we get within their stratosphere of substance, we will be happy. It really dissects relationships and aims to show how complicated they are over a long period of time. This is a five-year period in that time things change and morph and the power dynamic shifts and people wane and eyes wander and you question everything and this movie is about that in a funny way, I hope."
It certainly sounds promising, and Segel and Stoller (who'll direct the film) are certainly aiming for the right kind of thing by trying to emulate the Woody Allen and Rob Reiner's classics of the genre. If they can maintain the more truthful elements of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" while losing some of the misogyny that left somewhat of a bitter taste, this could be a winner. Assuming all goes well, the film will shoot next year for a release date in 2012.