In The Five Year Engagement, the two complement each other perfectly. Segel is the silly to Blunt's sassy. He's comically earnest while she's sarcastic-yet-goofy. Neither outshines the other. This is not a Segel vehicle in which he gets to be funny and the female lead is simply window dressing (as Katherine Heigl famously accused another Apatow production, Knocked Up, of doing.) Instead, Blunt wields her comedic process adeptly, resulting in a refreshing flick with two strong, equally matched leads.
Since you've likely been inundated with various incarnations of Engagement trailers by now, you probably know that the flick follows the extended engagement of Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt), who put their nuptials on hold while Violet pursues a career opportunity out of state. Their relationship is tested as they deal with family and work-related pressures, but never to the detriment of their endearing banter.
Segel and Blunt's perfect pairing got me thinking about other memorable movie couples who had amazing on-screen chemistry (and solid scripts that took full advantage of each of the performers' strengths). I'm not just talking about "Oh, they're cute together!" couples. I mean a "Wow, I want to watch them banter forever!" kind of movie couple.
(Now, I'm not saying that all of these couples represent perfect relationships, because a couple of them definitely don't. I've chosen the following movie couples as my top five favorites because a) they're incredibly entertaining, and b) each couple is comprised of strong, compelling characters who don't just exist to serve the lead -- cough, cough -- generic male love interests in Reese Witherspoon/Kate Hudson/Jennifer Aniston movies -- cough, cough).
1. Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli in Arthur and Arthur 2: On the Rocks. Aren't Dudley and Liza the best movie couple ever? He's hilarious, she's hilarious. They get up to goofy shenanigans. They banter constantly. They're both fun, eschewing the typical "fun man/wet-blanket woman" couple archetype. And they really do seem to actually like each other.
2. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. Now this is a movie couple that grows on you. At first, Harry and Sally seem completely unsuited for each other. She's young and pretty, he's crusty and neurotic. But the more they cross paths, the more they challenge each other and realize they just might be more than friends.
3. Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona. Hi is a goofy criminal, Ed is a serious policewoman, and yet they make so much sense together. They really do bounce ideas off of each other quite well, like when they rationalize their plan to kidnap one of the Arizona Quints, and then hilariously carry out said plan.
4. Robin Wright and Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride. It's inconceivable to think of any other two actors filling these now-classic roles. Buttercup, the beautiful farm girl, proves she's feisty and clever enough to get herself out of tricky situations -- and shows us why she's worthy of the dashing farmhand Westley's undying love.
5. Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis in Natural Born Killers. There's no shortage of movies about killers out there. What made Natural Born Killers so fascinating was Mickey and Mallory's volatile, passionate and enduring relationship with each other. Harrelson and Lewis played off of each other perfectly, masterfully capturing each of their respective characters' complex layers.
What'd I miss? I'd love to hear your favorite movie couples.