• Review: I Give It a Year (2013)

    From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Wed Jul 13 11:00:08 2016
    I GIVE IT A YEAR (2013)
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2016 David N. Butterworth

    ** (out of ****)

    Any film that makes Rose Byrne unappealing has its head well and truly up
    its bum... and "I Give It a Year" manages to do spectacularly that. Frankly, the lovely lead of two recent Seth Rogen "slobedies" ("Neighbors" 1 & 2)
    was more charming as the charmless, foul-mouthed Russian assassin in
    Melissa McCarthy's spy spoof "Spy." In Dan Mazer's romless-com, Byrne is
    Nat, a marketing exec who falls for successful writer Josh (Rafe Spall, son
    of Timothy) at a party--cue the fireworks! Seven months later they're
    getting married despite misgiving from family and friends (the minister's coughing fit during the critical "I Now Pronounce You..." part of the
    ceremony hints at sour notes to come also). Those hints and misgivings
    prove to be fitting--flash-forward to a couples counseling session in which
    Nat and Josh explain how things went "tit up," to use a phrase in keeping
    with the film's *declasse* tone. Classy, it turns out, is not first-time director Mazer's go-to writing style; the man cut his teeth brokering
    scripts for Sacha Baron Cohen ("Bruno," "Borat," and "Ali G Indahouse: The Movie"). There *is* some funny stuff in "I Give It a Year," mostly
    courtesy Stephen Merchant as a no-holes-barred buffoon of a best man,
    misheard song lyrics, and a game of charades. Minnie Driver's pretty droll too. But where the film falls down is in its singular lack of chemistry
    among its leading foursome, which include a believably frumpy Anna Faris as Josh's former girlfriend Chloe--she knobbed off to Africa for four years without any kind of closure--and Simon Baker (TV's "The Mentalist") as a
    hunky potential client (he's in solvents) who falls for Nat's cynical lack
    of wedding ring--she jettisoned it to improve her chances of getting the account. Mazer's script thrusts the parties together regularly and manages
    to reduce almost everyone to unlikeable stiffs. Australian actor Baker, in particular, struggles woodenly with his American accent, and Byrne, as
    stated from the outset, was never unlovelier. Your tolerance for
    misdirected romantic comedies may vary considerably, of course, but "'a
    Year" seems especially generous.

    David N. Butterworth

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