Dan Mazer, who’s best known for working with Sacha Baron Cohen on Borat and Bruno, tries to create something very unique in his directorial debut I Give It A Year. The romantic comedy starts where many of its kind end – at a lavish wedding where bride and groom are saying “I Do.” Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall are the attractive couple at the center of everything, but supporting cast members Anna Faris, Simon Baker and Stephen Merchant are the ones who really shine.
- Director: Dan Mazer
- Writers: Dan Mazer
- Cast: Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Anna Faris, Simon Baker, Stephen Merchant, Minnie Driver
- Cinematography by: Ben Davis
Nat (Byrne) and Josh (Spall) are deliriously happy to be married. Nine months after they vowed to spend eternity together, they seek counseling. A depressed Josh seeks refuge in the company of his kooky ex-girlfriend Chloe (Faris), who is still in-love with him. Meanwhile, the high-maintenance Nat is charmed by American businessman Guy (Baker), who can offer her the life she really wants.
- Stephen Merchant: Merchant doesn’t get nearly enough screen time, but we appreciate every minute he’s on. The man is absolutely hilarious. His obnoxious, blunt behavior makes up most of the laughs in the movie. Sadly, he only pops up during dinner parties and those are few and far between.
- Supporting Cast: Like Merchant, the rest of the supporting cast, including Faris, Baker and Minnie Driver, are always there to pick up the slack. Faris trades her often ditzy persona for someone more serious and real, but she’s still as charming as ever. Baker is perfectly cast as the handsome businessman; his character’s a bit of a jerk, but Baker makes him likable.
- Embraces Rom-Com Cliches: Mazer pokes fun at the rom-com genre. He’s aware that he’s surfing dangerous waves here, but embraces them. He makes the romantic montage extra cheesy by showing us the guy run in the rain. He also shouts out the obnoxious best friends and unpleasant in-laws. But he adds his only little twist; instead of hoping for the moment where the couple says “I do,” we’re waiting for Nat and Josh to call it quits. However, the parody doesn’t always work, mainly because it’s something we’ve seen before on YouTube, FunnyOrDie, or Vine (and done better).
- The Main Characters: Both Nat and Josh are irritable people. Nat is uptight and unsupportive, while Josh is lazy and goofy. They’re all wrong for each other, but pretend to be madly in love. Even after they realize that getting married is a huge mistake, it’s hard to root for them to find true love. Thankfully, they have cool friends.
I Give It A Year embraces rom-com cliches with pride and humor, but even with the help of Stephen Merchant, it fails to make an impact.
The Rating: 5/10
I Give It A Year opens in select theaters August 9.
Will you be seeing I Give It A Year this weekend?