Although it’s no excuse, I always find it hard to review average films. I mean there’s nothing really wrong with something being standard, chugging along through start, middle and ending. But it’s hardly the most enthralling way to spend two hours, watching a relationship chug. I Give It A Year functioned perfectly fine as a film, except for the part where it was just really bog-standard. I began (much like its depicted marriage) with anticipation and hope, but (much like its depicted marriage) something didn’t quite ‘gel’ along the way, and we all ended up a bit disappointed.
We begin with possibly the quickest courtship montage ever: the meeting of Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) with literal fireworks, then some kissing, a Venetian engagement blah blah blah and then BAM wedding. So after the obligatory awkward best man speech, the release of some paper laterns and a prediction from the sister of the bride (an unnecessarily bitchy Minnie Driver), saying that she ‘gives it a year’.
Fast forward nine months to a therapist room, and surprise, surprise, tensions are flaring. Josh hates the way that Nat just can’t sing the right lyrics to songs, and Nat hates that Josh doesn’t take out the garbage, and prefers to stay on the couch watching YouTube videos of different species of animals fornicating rather than finishing his second novel. A predictable checklist of petty annoyances. And of course, there’s two outside love interests who fit with what Nat and Josh want… From separate relationships. There’s Josh’s ex, cardi-wearing aid worker Chloe (a ginger Anna Faris, much removed from her House Bunny days) and charming American businessman Guy (favourite of mums everywhere, the generally beautiful and great haired Simon Baker), Nat’s colleague. Can we predict how this turns out?
Sexual sparks fly, there’s some tears and kissing and such. While Spall and Faris were both warm and likeable, Byrne was cold and impossible to feel for, and Baker complimented with a fairly bland and sappy character, causing audience apathy to the outcome of any of the relationships.
I hate to be one of those people who say that once you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the movie, but that’s about spot on. They managed to squish all the best lines into that 2 minutes and 27 seconds, and an expansion is only worth it for a longer version of that scene with the digital photo frame, and this scene involving charades and granny’s private bits.
A quick IMDb search reveals that director Dan Mazer also wrote Borat, Bruno and Da Ali G show. While Sacha Baron Cohen productions are hardly my thang, it was simply not as funny as I’d expected. However, the always amazing Stephan Merchant, as Josh’s painfully offensive best friend, basically saves the show with his painfully offensive motor-mouthing (although it does become a teeny bit tiresome by the end). While Josh is a bit of a dud husband, Spall is genuine, charming in a goofy kind of way, and may actually make you giggle, finally managing to inject at least a bit of British humour into what seems to be an attempt at an American rom-com, just minus Katherine Heigl.
A nice enough story with some laughs, but unfortunately predictable relationships and unsympathetic characters hinder.
I Give It A ‘Meh’.
Published at SPUR.