I Give it a Year
Abysmal, humourless newlyweds comedy starring Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall and Anna Faris
Nat (Rose Byrne) is a shallow, uptight career girl. Josh (Rafe Spall) is an insensitive, laddish boor. For reasons we don’t glean, since it all happens during the opening credits, they get married, and proceed to be vile to one another, until, within the first year of their marriage, they both encounter and promptly pursue alternative options.
Nat’s is her business contact Guy (Simon Baker), whose respect for her existing life is such that he tells her, 'Married or not, I have to be with you'. Josh’s is his ex-girlfriend Chloe, a wholesome, deep earth mother type as whom the filmmakers have inexplicably seen fit to cast the pneumatic Hollywood pep-machine Anna Faris. Both sideline interests are American, because that’s what would happen in a Richard Curtis comedy, and everyone is cynical, imperfect and foulmouthed, because that’s how they would be in a Richard Curtis comedy. But writer/director Dan Mazer has missed the fact that Curtis tends to balance his characters’ flaws with some degree of charm and cleverness. These people are without exception awful, selfish and dull. Mazer’s ignorance of the difference between charmingly transgressive wit and wearying unpleasantness is embodied in the character of Josh’s best friend, played by Stephen Merchant: he is a misogynistic racist, whose every bigoted utterance is meant to raise a thrilled titter. Why? Not sure. Racism and misogyny aren’t any funnier when Stephen Merchant’s doing them than when Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown is doing them.
Other ideas creak like panto gags. A marriage counsellor who has vicious fights with her husband on the phone? Not funny. A middle-aged couple who kiss and embrace in public, to everyone’s horror and disgust? Not funny either. One way of passing the time: ponder exactly what Faris – playing, remember, an earthy hippy chick – had done to her upper lip prior to filming. Whatever it was, it looks nearly as painful as the jokes.
General release from Fri 8 Feb.