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New Release Review - I Give it a Year

Directed by: Dan Mazer
Starring: Rose Byrne, Minnie Driver, Anna Faris, Rafe Spall, Stephen Merchant, Olivia Colman, Simon Baker, Jason Flemyng
A couple who rushed into marriage struggle with their relationship.

Having wed after a mere seven months together, Spall and Byrne quickly come to realize the mistake they’ve made. When Spall’s ex-girlfriend (Faris) returns to London, his feelings for her are rekindled while at the same time, a hunky millionaire (Baker) becomes a client of Byrne’s PR firm and sweeps her off her feet. To save their future, the unhappy couple see an inept marriage counselor (Colman) who suggests they try to make it to a year before making a final decision on their troubled marriage.
A full twenty years later, the British rom-com is still following the template set down by ‘Four Weddings & a Funeral’. Last year we had ‘The Wedding Video’, which gave the concept a found footage twist, and the critically lambasted ‘The Knot’. On first appearances, ‘I Give it a Year’ seems to follow suit with its U.S imported love interests and comic actors in supporting roles. Early on, a character even describes the wedding as “like something from a Hugh Grant” film. Is writer/director Mazer acknowledging his own lack of originality? No, he’s actually making a postmodern reference which quickly alerts you that all may not be what it first appears here.
Mazer subverts the rom-com template by making our protagonists the villains. Byrne and Spall are the sort of characters the romantic lead seems tragically destined to end up with before all is made right by a final reel airport dash. Rather than wish for two characters to get together, the idea here is that you spend the movie hoping they split up. It’s a novel idea but that’s really all Mazer’s film has going for it. There simply aren’t enough laughs and what few chortle provoking moments there are feel out of place. Every ten minutes or so a minor character appears and performs what amounts to a quick sketch. Some of these scenes raise a smile but feel tonally as though they belong in a different film. The motivations of the two central characters are boiled down to simplistic concepts; Spall only appears to be attracted to Faris once he sees her impressive cleavage, and Byrne seems more attracted to Baker’s bank account than anything else. It’s difficult to invest yourself in characters with such shallow goals.
There are, and no doubt will be in 2013, much worse rom-coms than this one but I’d give it much longer than a year before you commit to viewing this.
5/10
I Give It a Year (2013) on IMDb N/A/10


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