After getting married, Nat and Josh start having problems with their marriage after rushing into marriage and their incompatibility becomes apparent. Neither are properly clicking into the marriage and both encounter someone else who seems more suitable.
Rose Byrne (X-Men First Class, 28 Weeks Later, Get Him To The Greek)
Rafe Spall (Prometheus, Life of Pi and Hot Fuzz)
Anna Faris (Scary Movies, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, The House Bunny)
Simon Baker (The Mentalist, Land of the Dead, The Devil Wears Prada)
Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting, Princess Mononoke, Sleepers)
Written and Directed By: Dan Mazer (Borat, Bruno, Ali G Indahouse)
What Did I Think Of This Film?
Having only seen the trailer, I was a bit apprehensive going into I Give It A Year. I’m not a huge RomCom fan, mostly because of the “Rom” part of the genre, I really just don’t care for romance in my films. Add to that that it’s a British film and I was thinking it’d be like Love Actually or any other typical Hugh Grant film. Much to my delight, it really wasn’t. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have been so worried given it’s written solely by a man who was involved in most of Sasha Baron-Cohen’s early work like Borat etc. Although it’s a film which centres on marital problems, it doesn’t really try to delve too deep into emotions like most romantic comedies do.
I think what this film did well is that it really tried something different. It’s not your typical love story and most of the story actually focuses on the destruction of a love and marriage. In my opinion, they got the balance of romance and comedy just right. As I said, I’m not a romance fan so a lot of others who want the typical British RomCom may be disappointed with the ratio but I liked that it was mostly comedy. There’s a lot of humour that comes from how awkward a scene is and there’s a fair few crass jokes, mostly around sex which, again, appeal to my sense of humour, sometimes they combine the two and it’s double delight! This one certainly breaks tradition with the story and brings a bit of realism to the genre, it’s not always the fairytale love story, although the inevitable happens, there’s a lot more misery before it here and a divorce which usually isn’t seen in these types of film.
Not too much wrong, in my view. I think the writing made Rose Byrne’s character out to be a lot worse than Rafe Spall’s. Neither are really at fault for the downfall of the marriage but I think Nat’s made out to be the bad guy, just through her actions, I think she makes a lot more comments at things he does that annoy her than the other way around which contributes to her and the manner in which she does it. There are a lot of similar jokes, not quite to the extent of running jokes but most of the minor characters like Minnie Driver and Stephen Merchant do come across as a bit one-dimensional. I think it works because they’re not major characters and perhaps that’s why but they are pigeonholed into a definitive type of character.
I think the cast really made this film. Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne were very good as the leads. Anna Faris played her role very well too. Simon Baker is fantastic, I fully acknowledge that I’m bias as I think he’s a genius in The Mentalist and he brings that charm to this role as well, to be fair it’s probably Simon Baker’s real life charm. I think Stephen Merchant stole the show though. It could be that most of his crude jokes just hit home with my sense of humour and his character made a bunch of awful puns and said things that made the conversation grind to a halt, all of which I found very funny and perhaps some or most others will think he ruined his scenes but I thought he was fantastic and not used enough. Although maybe his character would’ve worn thin with too much screentime.
For his directorial debut, I think Mazer did alright. There wasn’t too much that I noticed in that side of the film which can be good or bad. For this type of film, I’m leaning on it being a positive since there isn’t much scope for brilliant directing and most of the focus and success hinges on the writing, which he also did and did well. What I would say is that the order of events was a bit messy. A lot of scenes finished with a still shot and then it went to the couple in marriage counselling so those scenes felt like it was the couple telling the counsellor about what had happened. But then there’s a lot of events that must happen after the counselling sessions so it’s not clear which events happen before or after the counselling sessions, which has to be assumed as the “now” for the story. There’s also some things that happen which I don’t think both Nat and Josh know about which also suggests that it’s not always the couple telling the counsellor of their problems. The still shot technique could’ve been employed better as a plot device, there was a few times that it captured one of their reactions to the marriage but it wasn’t consistent enough for that to be the purpose of its inclusion.
Overall, I think the film was quite enjoyable, even if it was hampered by its genre. It’s definitely not heavy on the romance, as a split I’d probably say about 70/30 comedy/romance so even those who aren’t fans of RomComs should enjoy at least most of the film. The cast is very strong and I think the humour is diverse enough that there’s something for everyone.
Stuart Ross – @forehead7 – 6/10