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

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.