Film review: I Give It a YearBy Kim Francis
February 06, 2013
Sigh. What to say about I Give It a Year?
It promises a fair bit. It’s got Timothy Spall’s offspring the innately funny, talented and charming Rafe Spall in it, along with Ricky Gervais’s comedy sidekick Stephen Merchant, and Aussie hunk Simon Baker from TV’s The Mentalist.
And that’s before we’ve even mentioned American funnygirl Anna Faris, British talents Minnie Driver and Olivia Colman, and Australian beauty Rose Byrne, fresh from her success with last year’s riotous Bridesmaids.
Oh, and it’s a Working Title film – the company behind a number of cinematic triumphs including Hugh Grant flicks Notting Hill and Love Actually.
Okay, so Hugh Grant isn’t everyone’s cup of warm, wet, brown stuff, but even if his particular schtick is your mug of Earl Grey/Lapsang Souchong/Oolong (delete as appropriate), you’ll be hard-pushed to find enough to stimulate your funny bone here.
The film’s standard 1990s romantic comedy premise takes a couple’s whirlwind romance, marries them off in a heartbeat, and spends its time unpicking their relationship and proving to the audience how unsuitable they are for each another.
It’s actually unfair to say I Give It a Year isn’t funny. It has its moments. At best, I Give It a Year is fitfully funny. At its cringe-worthy worst, it’s a hide-behind-your-hands horror of a comedy.
A lot of its attempts at humour rely on taking situations you might find yourself in – such as playing charades with the in-laws, or showing them a slideshow of your holiday snaps – and exaggerating an embarrassing moment to its furthest stretch until you can no longer identify with the events on screen and find it excruciating rather than funny.
Other comedy set pieces count on stereotypes, hackneyed sequences and over-used jokes. The result is a dated British romcom that paradoxically tries both too hard and yet not hard enough.
Writer-director Dan Mazer goes solo here for his directorial debut, and proves he is clearly most at home partnering up with Sacha Baron Cohen. Responsible for the screenplays for Borat and Bruno, Mazer plainly needs the controversial funny man to bring out the best in him.