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29 January 2013

I Give It Three Stars

Well, I would probably give I Give It a Year three stars if I awarded star ratings in my movie reviews, anyway. It is the kind of film I might not have got round to seeing had I not got a ticket for a free preview screening. The trailer and the preview clip I saw were both pretty funny, and despite the impressive cast, I was a little worried that they had put all the funny bits into the trailer. This turned out not to be quite true, but I didn't laugh as loudly during the movie as I did during the trailer.

I Give It a Year comes from "the producers of Love Actually, Bridget Jones's Diary and Notting Hill" and "the writer of Borat." Funnily enough, it's being released the week before Valentine's Day, so do you think, by any chance, that they may be going for compromise of a dash of romance for the ladies, a sprinkle of loud, sweary, lad humour for the guys, and a generous dollop of totty for everyone? I think this is the main problem with writer-director Dan Mazer's movie: it's too much of a compromise. It's a bit too sweary and gross for the women secretly hoping Mr Darcy Colin Firth will show up, and it's not offensive enough or funny enough for the blokes expecting Cultural Learnings of the Chattering Classes of London for Make Hilarious Social Commentary

As the movie opens Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) are getting married. They've only known each other seven months, and they are chalk and cheese: she's a sleek, successful marketing professional and perfectionist who gets song lyrics wrong, he's published one book and is struggling to write his second and, er, hates emptying the dustbin. But despite the best efforts of the phlegm-filled vicar and Josh's embarrassing, David-Brent-like best man (Stephen Merchant), they make it through the wedding. "I give it a year," says Nat's older sister Naomi (Minnie Driver). Hey, that's the name of the movie. Next thing we know, it's nine months later and Nat and Josh are showing up at the office of the world's worst marriage therapist (Olivia Colman) exploring their options and looking back on where they went wrong.

You see, Josh's ex Chloe (Anna Faris), an American charity worker with self-esteem issues, is still hovering in the background, and Nat seems to have snared a rich new American client Guy (Simon Baker), in more ways than one. Are Josh and Nat really meant to be together or are they just more suited to Chloe and Guy, respectively? You'll have to watch the movie to find out, but to be honest, I didn't really care much what happened at the end. Nat is quite unlikeable and Chloe and Guy are fairly two-dimensional. Spall does his best as the schlubby, down-trodden Josh, who is constantly made to feel like he married way too far above him, but somehow it's not enough. The double act between Naomi and her husband Hugh (Jason Flemyng) is much funnier, with Driver being particularly good here. Colman is funny too, with her anatomically correct dolls and all, but she lost me at the scene where she loses the plot. Merchant had a few good lines, but I found his most of his scenes irritating. I guess I wasn't in the mood for that much cringing.

Bridget Jones Meets Borat this film ain't, no matter how much it would like to be. I chuckled throughout and the cast is great, but given that it is a perfectly adequate romantic comedy, it is somewhat ironic that I Give It a Year lacks heart.


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