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
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.