Every now and then an outstanding romantic comedy comes along and causes the whole world to reconsider their position on the genre. Suddenly we find ourselves wondering why every film isn’t quite as charming, romantic and hilarious as the one we thoroughly enjoyed on Saturday night? Why aren’t there more Notting Hills? And why isn’t that new bloke we’re seeing quite as lovely as Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral, or Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail?
Unfortunately, I Give It A Year isn’t going to re-write the British rom-com history book – nor is it likely to change the comedy scene as Bridesmaids or Borat (with its script from I Give It A Year’s writer/director, Dan Mazer) have in the past decade – but, in all probability, it will make you laugh an awful lot.
I Give It A Year stars Rafe Spall as Josh, and Rose Byrne as Nat; a newlywed couple who are struggling to get through their first year of marriage. They can’t deny the fireworks between them, but Josh is still trying to get over his almost-ex Chloe (Anna Faris) and Nat is toying with Guy (Simon Baker); a charming American businessman who has never seen her wearing her wedding ring. Will they make it as a couple, or are there just too opportunities outside of their marriage for them to refuse?
I Give It A Year is not geared towards the sentimental, romanticist viewer. There are few genuinely emotional or melodramatic scenes, and the film trades mainly on several stand-out comedy sequences. Given Mazer’s background with Sacha Baron Cohen this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but there is still a little twinge disappointment when you almost don’t care about the final resolution. Instead, the movie functions far more like a conventional comedy – what you remember as the credits roll are those hilarious, laugh-out-loud sequences which have you completely hooked.
There’s an amusing scene with Faris in an awkward threesome, which she handles with expert comic timing and skill, as well as a shocking and outrageously funny encounter between Josh and Nat’s parents (private honeymoon snaps on a new digital photoframe round the in-laws sums it up without giving too much away…), and there are genuinely too many funny instances to count. Having said this, however, I Give It A Year sometimes misses the mark, and when the laughs fail, they do so spectacularly. As we found out, there’s nothing to do but wait until the next funny joke when the cinema falls this quiet during a comedy, but we can promise the good stuff does keep coming.
Minnie Driver, Olivia Colman and Stephen Merchant all steal the show when they’re onscreen, offering hilarious performances alongside Byrne’s more subdued Nat; and the showcase of top British and Australian is a testament to how good comedy outside of Hollywood is right now. We don’t think Britain is particularly known for its cinematic comedy on the world stage, but maybe I Give It A Year will go some way to assuring these performers’ futures alongside big American names (and if Richard Ayoade can make the transition, we’re pretty sure any of these actors can too).
Overall, I Give It A Year might not tick all of the rom-com boxes, but it’s definitely a good shout for a date, or a fun, enjoyable night at the cinema with some mates. The only tears you might experience are when the film has you crying with laughter, and with Mazer’s risqué comedy there’s a fair chance you might be a little shocked too. Maybe don’t believe all of the hype (Richard Curtis‘ job is still safe), but if you fancy a laugh, definitely check out this British comedy; you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised.
Written By: Jade Turner
I Give It A Year is released on 8th February, just in time for Valentine’s Day!