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United Kingdom 2013
Directed by
Dan Mazer
97 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

I Give It A Year

Synopsis: After a whirlwind romance ad agency exec. Nat (Rose Byrne) and writer Josh (Rafe Spall) tie the knot. Love is in the air but their friends give it a year.                

The publicity for this rom-com trumpets its provenance as being “from the producers of Love Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Notting Hill”. That's true enough but even if you took this as a recommendation there are likely to be some disappointments with I Give It A Year. There are some chuckles to be had, indeed you’ll probably laugh out loud on a couple of occasions but this film lacks two important ingredients of  its predecessors – charm and cast.

The main problem is that much of the humour is forced and although we get the standard ingredients of the British rom-com  - the Knightbridge-Soho locations, hip 30-somethings bantering witty dialogue, and lots of pop-song-driven sentimentality – we also get some rather try-hard moments – much of it thanks to Stephen Merchant whose wince-inducing brand of humour is more suited to the grosser sensibilities of Movie 43. That and the predictability of the story give the film a contrived quality that it can’t quite manage to overcome. Writer-director Dan Mazer has worked extensively with Sacha Baron Cohen and it is not surprising that his sense of humour has a blunter and somewhat more bitter edge than Richard Curtis’s brand of very English whimsy.    

Then there’s the cast. They are perfectly adequate but as Rafe Spall is no Hugh Grant, Rose Byrne is no Andie MacDowell although she does look better in her undies (MacDowell obliges in The End Of Violence). In the looks department Simon Baker is a little too old to bear the camera’s scrutiny and Anna Faris (who was also in Movie 43) although giving probably the most winning performance as Josh’s “charity worker” former girlfriend, simply looks out of place. Of her character one can’t help but ask “why would she be hanging around with these prats?”

Given that you can accept the film's questionable premise (wouldn't the first year of marriage be the easiest?) I Give It A Year is a serviceable time-filler but hardly an illustrious addition to its much-loved forbears.




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