Sunday, 24 February 2013
FILM REVIEW: I GIVE IT A YEAR
Marry in haste, repent at leisure they say. Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) don't necessarily repent but it's not too long into their marriage, following a whirlwind courtship, that the two discover that opposites -- she's an English rose and PR rep; he's a larrikin and novelist with writer's block -- actually repel rather than attract.
And while writer-director Dan Mazer's non-rom-com isn't necessarily anti-marriage, it certainly advocates making sure you're marrying 'the one' and not the first one to propose.
Nat and Josh are already in marriage counselling when the film begins, less than a year into their marriage, and relaying their problems to a less than interested counsellor (Olivia Colman) who has marital problems all her own. We then proceed to flashback to reveal the events which have brought them to this impasse; not surprisingly, there is a third party involved on both sides.
Nat's perfect match would seem to be her new client, Guy (Simon Baker), a charming, slightly too earnest American businessman, while Josh's ex-girlfriend, Chloe (a non-blonde Anna Faris), whom he unofficially broke-up with when she left for Africa on a four-year humanitarian mission but with whom he has remained friends, still carries a torch for him. Cue various romantic misadventures as both marrieds attempt to prevent their hearts and hormones from overruling their heads and vows.
I Give It A Year is a mostly standard British rom-com (produced under the Working Title shingle) although it is injected with an above average dose of 'blue' humour which has become the staple of American comedies in the second decade of the new millennium (Mazer is also known for working with Sacha Baron Cohen). Most of that smut is provided by Stephen Merchant as Josh's best friend, Danny, who is seemingly void of the ability to self-censor, vocalising every inappropriate thought he has.
But Merchant is rivalled in the laugh stakes by the always-welcome Minnie Driver as Nat's sister, Naomi, whose cynical and acerbic appraisals of love, marriage and Justin Bieber provide a fair share of yuks and guffaws. Driver certainly has more spark than either Byrne, who continues to exercise her comic chops following Bridesmaids (2011), or Faris, who seems to have had her personality dimmed by the darker colouring of her hair.
Baker, too, registers little more than as a handsome love interest but Spall, last seen in Life of Pi and who played the boorish William Shakespeare in Anonymous (2011), fits comfortably into that traditional mumbling, fumbling British romantic lead archetype although he's by no means the heir apparent to Hugh Grant.
And I Give It A Year is no Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994), but it is a fun and diverting engagement. See it with that special someone you're about to break-up with.