Tuesday, 25 June 2013

REVIEW - I GIVE IT A YEAR


Watching a group of people disgrace themselves trying to squeeze humour out of a humourless script is a boundless source of humiliation and depression. Some things never stop being funny, and some never start. If it were a high school piece of devised theatre, one might be able to overlook the desperation. But it's not. It's a major motion picture, from dependable studios, with Oscar-nominated participants. Hapless writer-director Dan Mazer mines every available cliche in British and American comedy cultures, and unironically  employs them in sequence, at moments where they have no business being. If you can smell the joke coming, it doesn't tend to be of the highest quality... and you realise you could probably have written shite like this yourself, only you would've had the sagacity not to. And once Mazer latches onto each of the most dependably asinine comedic grooves, he milks and milks it for all (he wishes) it's worth, draining right down to the dregs, right down to the point where the merciful mild giggles have wasted away to an overbearing mass sensation of discomfort. That's about all that I Give It a Year gets right: discomfort. It aims to mingle that in with comedy, but it rather misses that target. And while its attempts at a little absurdity are not unwelcome here and there, they just come across as awkward, protruding from an otherwise flat-textured gruel of a film. What a sad sight to see Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall debase themselves here - each a gifted comic actor, burdened with intensely-disagreeable characters in a plot that sets them up for one purpose alone and strands them there, without a paddle. Supporting actors get an equally rough deal, but Anna Faris shines through, as she always does, by just being Anna Faris. Whatever happened there, whether she wrote her own lines or Dan Mazer simply had more respect for her part than the others, I don't know, but it at least works. As for the rest of this troubling experience, it doesn't.