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I Give It A Year - Review

I Give It A Year

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

DAN Mazer’s anti-rom com is a frustrating affair that makes a hideous hash of its attempts to subvert the genre.

It boasts a quality cast and a fresh take on the genre, particularly for Working Title Films, but its comedy is woefully uneven and tries too hard to be awkward and post-Bridesmaids rude.

The story kicks off at the wedding of Nat (Rose Byrne) to Josh (Rafe Spall) after a whirlwind seven month affair, prompting their friends to predict it’ll be over in a year.

Cut forward nine months and Nat and Josh are seeing a counsellor and the film itself flashes back to recount how they got there, examining the temptations put in their path by an ex-girlfriend of Josh’s (Anna Faris’ Chloe) and a new work client of Nat’s (Simon Baker’s Guy).

Mazer’s film, which he also penned, allegedly takes its cues from real-life but draws heavily on the type of comedy perfected by Ricky Gervais and Mazer’s own work with Sacha Baron Cohen. As a result, it’s always walking a tightrope between good taste and bad, and that which is funny or not. Sadly, it misses more than it hits.

The central premise has mileage but a lot of the jokes are over-cooked and the wrong side of inappropriate (with references to famine and under-age sex two examples that feel particularly ill-advised).

The characters, meanwhile, are difficult to warm to with too much of an emphasis on their flaws as opposed to their qualities. Indeed, there are times when the film falls over itself to be mean-spirited, especially in its depiction of the marriage between Minnie Driver and Jason Flemyng’s in-laws and the portrayal of Olivia Williams’ unsympathetic (and deeply unfunny) counsellor.

The only ‘truth’ comes in the relationship between Spall and Faris, which is nicely played, but attempts to give the film any emotional resonance feel half-hearted and insincere.

It’s a shame as the cast is, for the most part, on form. Spall makes the leap to leading man status nicely, Byrne is good value, Baker nicely combines charm with smarm and Faris is cute and worthy of much better material.

But rather like Stephen Merchant’s opening best man speech, I Give It A Year is a film that invites more groans than goodwill and one that really needs to know when to quit while it’s ahead. I give it a relatively short stay in people’s memories.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 90mins
UK Release Date: February 8, 2013