If it's true that whatever doesn't kill you can only make you stronger, this film will kill you. Written and directed by Dan Mazer, one of the many co-writers of 'Borat' and 'Brüno', 'I Give It A Year' follows two boring saps and the people who pass them on the downslope of their marriage. It's out on DVD this week, making it among the most expensive beverage coasters on Amazon.
Because it's sure as Hell not a comedy. Oh, Mazer may call it a 'comedy' - he can say whatever he likes. He can stick an umbrella up his arse and call himself a Tequila Sunrise, but that doesn't make it true. What passes for a joke usually involves people making 'Awkward!' faces at each other when a painfully quirky friend says something inappropriate, or a tidal wave of mini-jokes about the differences between men and women that are so old, that the jokes about their age are themselves so old that they're now their own punchlines. He left the toilet seat up! Well,cry me a river.
The worst thing about this movie? It's got to be the waste. The dizzyingly gorgeous and talented Rose Byrne co-stars with Rafe Spall as newlyweds Nat and Josh. Simon Baker and Anna Faris play their respective love interests, both are great comic actors. Tim Key, a man who blew the Edinburgh Fringe Festival's collective mind three years running, has a bit part as a socially-inept lawyer. They all deserve so much better.
As a plot, 'I Give It A Year' marches unblinkingly from its tired premise to its subtextually self-contradictory ending. Without spoiling that ending, the film seems to hold two opposing views: that marriage is about learning to love someone and becoming less selfish, and that love is about dumping your relationship if your partner doesn't immediately conform to your lifestyle and worldview. Although I'm not sure I really could 'spoil' the ending in either sense of the word. So cloying and predictable is the plot that a child could spot where it's heading. A particularly alert dog probably could.
And while it's tough to edit a romantic-comedy to make it any more irritating, it's unfortunately still possible. Dan Mazer and editor Tony Cranstoun have innovated all new ways to degrade the experience. During a 1 minute 58 second conversation between Stephen Merchant and Anna Faris, sitting next to each other on a sofa, they cut thirty-six times (yes I counted). And these aren't soft cuts, they're hard cuts and they sometimes fall in the middle of sentences. Do you know. How jarring that can be?
These sorts of ridiculous presentational decisions compounded on a plot which is matched only by its jokes for indolence create a once-in-a-month tempest of awful. Run.
DVD EXTRAS:- Deleted scenes
- Audio commentary with Dan Mazer, Rafe Spall and Kris Thykier
'I Give It A Year' is available to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray at amazon.co.uk etc.