If you've been reading us for awhile, you know how much we love the unconventional. Sure, it's cool to see another Iron Man or relish in the world of Star Trek, but ultimately film exists to push to boundaries, regardless if audiences embrace it or not. The oddly rom-com I GIVE IT A YEAR might strike new ground, thriving in the atypical. Whether audiences will accept it depends on your outlook on marriage and love itself.
I GIVE IT A YEAR is now available on iTunes/On Demand and in theaters now.
After seeing Nat (Rose Byrne, X-Men: First Class) and Josh (Rafe Spall) on their wedding day a mere 7 months after they met, we fast forward to the ninth month and realize marriage isn't as easy as you might think. He's a struggling writer, content to lie on the couch and watch reality television; she's a workaholic and growing very unhappy at Josh's odd behavior and socially crass friends, including his best man (Stephen Merchant, Hall Pass). Nat must also deal with the icy Naomi (Minnie Driver, An Ideal Husband), who gives her marriage only one year, while the couple are forced to endure a sadistic marriage counselor. Soon, the wheels come off as our newlyweds are tempted by two Americans: Josh's ex-girlfriend Chloe (Anna Faris) and Guy (Simon Baker, The Mentalist), both of whom force a difficult decision that audiences might not expect.
It's not that Writer/Director Dan Mazer (Borat - yes THAT Borat) hates relationships, but he does see them for what they are. The fact that he brings his Borat sensibilities along for the ride just makes his message more palatable. There's a uproarious threesome involving Faris, a family gathering gone horribly wrong, and an uncomfortable wedding toast that's a prophecy of things to come. That's all SOP for Mazer, and he handles those like a pro, but it's his comments about the difficulties of relationships that's the most rewarding. Some people aren't meant to be married, and Mazer's not afraid to show how Nat and Josh twisting in the wind. Try as they might to accept each other's differences and to spice up their relationship, they're ultimately doomed; we've seen such doom-gloom from other genres this year, and it's frankly refreshing to see someone take a chance on it here. Our British leads, while sometimes hard to hear, show off their comedic/dramatic skills very well, while Baker is comfortable as the rich well-dressed genius. Just when you think Faris is comedically out of place, she gets herself in some lingerie or the threesome scene that's among the funniest of the year. Driver and Merchant tend to steal each scene they're in as the offensive jerks of their respective sex, but that's also on par with Mazer's style. Cinematographer Ben Davis (Kick Ass) makes everything pretty, even though Mazer's message is not.
I'll Give It a Year isn't meant for people who like their films to fit in neat genre boxes. It's also not for audiences who expect happy endings to Rom-Coms, although the twist her does deliver a bit of that. Whether we're ready for such realities in our relationship movies will be up to moviegoers to decide. And while not quite a hidden jewel, it does serve our new world order very well. I'll Give it a Year is rated R sexual content, language and some graphic male nudity (yes, full frontal) and has a runtime of 98 minutes.
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