Don’t root for the married couple in ‘I Give It a Year’

IGIAY-17:5:12-GK_01651.RAW
Simon Baker, Anna Faris, Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall star in “I Give It a Year.”
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

‘I Give It a Year’
Director: Dan Mazer
Stars: Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall
Rating: R
2 (out of 5) Globes

As its catchphrase title suggests, “I Give It a Year” delves into a dark and disturbing subject: the first year of marriage, when the thrill of romance dissipates and the realization that one has agreed to stay with someone until death becomes cripplingly real. If this sounds like a grim topic for a British comedy nakedly in thrall to the cinema of Richard Curtis (“Love Actually,” etc.), then you’re in luck: That is the subject, and it isn’t.

Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) meet at a party and immediately start necking. They whirlwind courtship, borne of instant sexual chemistry, takes them right into a whirlwind marriage — a development that almost immediately smacks of a bad idea. Nat is an ambitious corporate type; Josh is a struggling writer fond of bad jokes and drunk dancing. What’s more, they each have obvious soulmates: Nat with a moneyed, smarmy client (Simon Baker, resuscitating his “The Devil Wears Prada” shtick), Josh with a shy friend (Anna Faris).

Technically speaking, it’s not fair to reprimand a film for not exploring a certain, prickly subject, even if it appeared to offer just that. On the other, it’s disappointing to watch a film that looks like it will balance comedy with unpleasant truths turn instead to stock rom-com cliches. “I Give It a Year” winds up being another genre entry in which obvious should-be-lovers — two sets of them, this time — spend a film’s length stalling, protractedly putting off the inevitable for the climax.

Still, funny’s funny, and now that even Richard Curtis has sworn off Richard Curtis rom-coms, it’s good to know that someone (writer-director Dan Mazer) can do a not bad imitation (and at their “Four Weddings and a Funeral”-level prime, no less). Mazer previously collaborated with Sacha Baron Cohen, yet he has a gift for offhanded human insights delivered as comedy, charming self-deprecation and the expected blocks of embarrassment. (A key dramatic scene is nicely thrown off by a pair of doves flying recklessly and scarily around a board room with a ceiling fan.) The requisite Curtis mad-dash-to-nervously-declare-love is even given an amusing twist — although even that gag, like the rest of the film, is ultimately a touch too easy.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Ebola worries end for dozens on U.S. watch…

Weeks of worries about Ebola infection ended for dozens of people who came off watch lists in the United States on Monday.

National

Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for…

By Kate KellandLONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored…

National

Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as…

By Irene KlotzNEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars…

Local

NYPD: Man found hanging in Brooklyn subway station

A man was found hanging inside a Brooklyn subway station on Saturday morning, police said. The man, who still had not been identified on Sunday,…

Television

9 things we learned about 'Hannibal' Season 3…

There’s plenty of fall television to be excited about, but the crowd inside the Paley Center for Media on Saturday night only wanted one thing:…

Going Out

Watch home cooks try to impress Tom Colicchio…

Is what you’re making for dinner tonight good enough to serve “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio? That’s the standard that some of the city’s best…

Television

‘Homeland’ recap: Season 4, Episode 4 ‘Iron in…

Carrie Mathison, what are you doing?! Don’t seduce virgins! More on that later: Lots of crazy stuff went down on the "Iron in the Fire" ep of "Homeland"!

Movies

Box office: Brad Pitt kills Nazis, also Nicholas…

This weekend, Brad Pitt's second WWII movie, "Fury," rolled into the lead, while the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, "The Best of Me," got little love.

College

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State…

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State holds off FSU

NHL

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in…

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in front

NFL

DeMarco Murray carries Cowboys to win over Giants

The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win. It didn't matter.

NFL

Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin: Report

According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Jets have sent a conditional draft pick to the Seahawks for wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…

Wellbeing

Health News: 5K for lung cancer, free yoga,…

Get some fresh air to benefit lung cancer research On Friday, the first-ever Brooklyn Free to Breathe Run/Walk will take place Oct. 26 at Cadman Plaza…

Education

Can these two college students come up with…

Two Atlanta college students say they have an idea for a simple test that would quickly diagnosis the Ebola virus - and it all started…

Education

Chances are, the average college student isn't taking…

As a bachelor’s degree becomes more expensive than ever, one new report is criticizing colleges for the content of those pricey educations. The American Council…