I Give It a Year
The UK comedy ‘I Give It a Year’ has been promoted as the biggest comedy sensation to come out of the UK for years and for some cinema goers it may have just the right mix. Director/Writer Dan Mazer brings his brand of comedy from years in the Ali G circle working with Sacha Baron Cohen on projects like Brüno and Borat. That’s probably going to set the tone at the door because if you can’t stand weird looking European men in green spandex Mankinis then you’re not going to enjoy the uncomfortable moments in ‘I Give It a Year’. Total disclaimer; I’m a comedy prude. I like British over American and I like subtle not brash. I can handle a little innuendo but don’t appreciate rude and vulgar. There, I’ve said it, and ‘I Give It a Year’ didn’t listen.
There’s no doubt that ‘I Give It a Year’ is funny in places. It had the potential for success based on moments of brilliant scripting, forced awkward social situations and great contrast in both the characters and actors playing them but for me it was always pushing me beyond my comfort zone. Sadly this is what Dan Mazer said he wanted to achieve so kudos for goal setting. When I head to the cinema to watch a comedy I’m looking for distraction and a laugh not a confrontation and a frown. I don’t think the decision is even about being young and loving it because we don’t all laugh at fart jokes and even Fuzzy Bear is learning those gags are old.
Even sadder for this movie was the premise that the story was promoted as a romantic comedy but then went out of its way to prove loyalty depends on room temperature. Throughout the story we’re shown that falling in love is a mistake, commitment is important but only if they’re the right one and old married couples have simply learned to love the hate. Some are saying it brought realism into the romcom genre while others feel its actually the anti-romantic comedy.
To be fair to the end result the cast were brilliant. On screen we have two Aussies out of sync with Simon Baker playing Guy the American businessman and Rose Byrne playing a Brit. Byrne plays a newly wedded wife Nat to Josh played by Rafe Spall. While the opening number shows love at first sight and a wedding only on the verge thanks Stephen Merchant’s crass best man speech everything looks right for the life of wedded bliss. Now mix in the handsome distraction of Simon Baker as a businessman attracted to Byrne as he seeks to employ her firm as his marketing agency and things are becoming uncomfortable. Then we find that Husband Josh still has an attraction for his old flame Chloe played by Anna Faris. Chloe has been off saving the world with a charity in Africa and her ‘down to earth’ style doesn’t seem to compete with Nat’s urban chic. It’s all a classic comedy recipe with a sweet caramelised burned pie ending.
‘I Give It a Year’ will likely polarise audiences based on what you think is funny and that’s a complex question you won’t want to bring to the films onscreen sardonic counsellor played by Olivia Colman. If you are wanting to laugh at comedy that’s on the British end of seeing Seth MacFarlane’s TED then you may have walked into the right theatre but if you thought this was going to be another Notting Hill then turn around and run. Taste in humour aside, I’m not surprised that even with its marketing taglines saying it the funniest film to come out of the UK in years that it still doesn’t have an American release date scheduled. Maybe sense will prevail.
M – Language and nudity.
Reviewed by: Andrew Pitchford