I Give it a YearMovies
I Give It A Year - Trailer
A look at the trials and tribulations of a newlywed couple during their first year of marriage.PT1M55S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2efgm 620 349 February 14, 2013
(M, 97 minutes.) Now playing.
Dan Mazer, the English writer and director of the slipshod comedy I Give it a Year, is a former Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator, having contributed to the writing of the Borat and Bruno movies.
On his own, he awkwardly alternates between outrage and sentimentality, and, if nothing else, Mazer's inability to strike a compelling tone suits a movie about two people who shouldn't be together.
Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) are newlyweds whose nine-month romance was apparently so blissful, they never noticed their crushing incompatibility.
A focused public-relations executive and a listless author, respectively, the two are struggling to survive the disdain of family, the doubts of friends, and their annoying habits. Within months, they're in couples therapy.
Most romantic comedies are about fulfilment, but, interestingly, I Give it a Year focuses on survival. The problem is, it's absurdly apparent who both protagonists should actually be with: Nat is wooed by an American industrial magnate, Guy (Simon Baker), while Josh remains friends with his ex, social activist Chloe (Ana Faris), also an American. The characters' refusal to acknowledge the obvious swiftly ceases to be funny and becomes annoying. Byrne and Spall spend too much of the movie reacting to the comic talent parachuted into various scenes. Gawky beanpole Stephen Merchant confirms he's the poet laureate of the inappropriate, with one ill-judged remark after another, while Olivia Colman plays a therapist whose own partner reduces her to howling fury with a single phone call.
Visually, Mazer is an unassuming filmmaker, cutting from punchline to reaction shot, but the film needs to either treat Nat and Josh's bind with even more outrageous humour or try to actually understand their situation.
The film crackles whenever Minnie Driver, as Nat's acidic older sister, gets on screen, but the movie's best scene, one that actually uses bold humour to make an incisive observation, doesn't employ Byrne or Spall. Faris's Chloe engages in a threesome with colleagues, and the gifted comedienne's discomfort is so richly apparent that I Give it a Year's manufactured ending fades away.