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
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.