Published Aug 22, 2013For his big screen directorial debut, frequent Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Dan Mazer (he's contributed to the scripts of Ali G Indahouse, Borat and Bruno) has decided to bring a little dry British weirdness to the mainstream rom-com.
While I Give It a Year is nowhere near as provocative as his previous efforts, Mazer's cynical wit ensures that all of the genre's sacred tropes unfold more than a little left of centre. Wisely, the writer/director populates his picture with talented performers capable of selling the syrupy as convincingly as the crass and awkward.
Rose Byrne (Get Him to the Greek, Insidious) and Rafe Spall (Life of Pi, Hot Fuzz) star as gun-jumping newlyweds Nat and Josh. Though happy for the obviously mismatched couple — she's a career-minded businesswoman and he's a slacker novelist — their family and friends aren't too optimistic about their prospects of holy matrimony longevity.
During the wedding reception, we're introduced to Josh's exceedingly (and often hilariously) tactless best friend, Danny (Stephen Merchant, sticking to his comfort zone). Though his screen time is rather brief, the gangly, awkward comedy veteran is responsible for many of the film's dirtiest lines. While none of the other characters are given the opportunity to fire off jaw-dropping turns of phrase, there are plenty of uncomfortable scenarios to spice up the standard will-they-or-won't-they? plot.
As Josh's former lover, back in his life at just the wrong (or right?) moment, Anna Faris (who's tread similar territory before with What's Your Number?) plays it relatively straight this time while negotiating awkward situations, including one very unsexy threesome. On the other side of the love rectangle, Nat finds herself the object of a handsome, extremely successful client's advances. Initially just hoping to seal a business deal, she flirts along, which leads to a hysterical romantic gesture involving the inopportune deployment of doves. However, she finds herself tempted despite a steadfast, and some might say stubborn, commitment to making her marriage work.
Events don't fall into place quite like we've been conditioned to expect as viewers, and while nothing about it is too radical, the slightly askew perspective and secular stance on the sanctity of relationships in I Give It a Year is a refreshing, minor change of pace. (eOne)