Here’s an interesting proposal. Take the producers behind romantic hits such as Love Actually and Bridget Jones’ Diary and apply their genre knowledge in a direction that turns romantic comedies on their ear. Then, bring in Dan Mazer to write and direct the sweet and salty hybrid.
Mazer has plenty of experience shocking audiences with filthy jokes. His résumé consists of behind-the-scenes work on Da Ali G Show as well as lending his penmanship to Brüno and Borat – the latter to which he was nominated for an Academy Award.
I Give It A Year has the front of being a run-of-the -mill rom-com except it’s being steered by someone who wishes to urinate all over the genre. It’s a filmmaking scenario that maybe would’ve been obnoxious and aggressive if it had been made during the post There’s Something About Mary hooplah that stunk up cinemas in the early 2000’s – primarily 2001.
Fortunately, it’s the exact opposite of what one might expect from this wild concoction and ends up being a successful comedy with lots of scenarios that will have you laughing out loud.
The film centres around a newly married couple (Nat played by Rose Byrne and Josh played by Rafe Spall) who seem happy and confident, but have others around them feeling jittery and unamused. Their wedding has its fair share of awkwardness and rude behaviour provided by Josh’s bud Dan (played by Stephen Merchant, who is having a little too much fun relishing in the inappropriateness) and those who have “helpful” advice only make matters more cringing.
The relationship starts to easily tear due to exposed mannerisms that drive the other crazy, and soon the couple finds themselves in therapy. Through a series of flashbacks, Nat and Josh explain why marriage isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
Even though I Give It A Year is taking numerous jabs at flawed married life, it’s never anti-marriage or too cynical with its joking. Mazer is simply tainting situations that would be sugary otherwise. Revealing games of Charades, for instance, are filled with potty mouths and adulterated content and we can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous the upfront necessities have grown to.
The one similarity the gross out flicks of the early 2000’s and I Give It A Year share is how a low-key misunderstanding builds to unspeakable and unavoidable conclusions. After a brand new gift of a digital photo frame is given to Nat and Josh, a memory stick with naughty photos is unawaringly inputed into the device. Josh’s fanatic actions to block the x-rated images come to a stop when his behaviour is called out and his worriness succumbs during a very funny – and baring – scene.
Mazer goes as far as he can with his movie before wandering into a pitch black ballpark. I Give It A Year eventually castrates itself and becomes a romantic comedy that’s a little more unique than most, but still very predictable.
Those seeking a film that’s consistent with dark humour and disgusting characters will find themselves feeling disappointed, but they should know by the halfway mark that I Give It A Year isn’t that type of movie. Even those who were laughing at Mazer’s twisted writing will know the film is going to be traveling down this sort of tamer path sooner or later.
I Give It A Year is a happy surprise that has a tough game face, but also accepts a friendlier fate. It welcomes in any awkward confrontation or boorish spat while also making itself out to be appealing to the cheekiest of Grandmothers.
Most importantly, it’s a rom-com for both sexes that doesn’t remind you it’s “that type of movie” until its final act. Sit down, relax, and enjoy the delightful obscenities.