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April 15, 2013 | by  | in Arts Film |
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I Give It a Year

Directed by Dan Mazer

Nat and Josh meet, and within seven months are married. At their wedding, her bitter sister mutters “I give it a year”, but with the hasty introduction of Josh’s ex-girlfriend Chloe and Nat’s handsome colleague Guy, we, and they, end up wondering if they’ll make it that long. We’re supposed to be invested in this quandary, but the split loyalties in this ‘love square’ are never convincing. The main characters are flat to the extent of caricature; Nat is high-strung and bossy, Josh is a buffoon, Guy is a slick American, and Chloe is a loveable loser who gets kicked out of threesomes. As a rom-com, it does the comedy well but the romance poorly.

The saving grace of this film are the supporting characters. Stephen Merchant’s truly awful best man, Danny, seems to be channelling Ricky Gervais at his height of obnoxious hilarity, and it was wonderful to see his obtuse, unrelenting sexism being the butt of the joke in these scenes, rather than the governing ideology.

Similarly, Olivia Colman (Peep Show, Hot Fuzz) is phenomenal as a beleaguered marriage therapist prone to having screaming matches with her spouse during counselling sessions. Props to Colman here: the cynical therapist with a messy life is a well-worn character type, but her deadpan delivery manages to pull this off. In fact, it’s possible that the film would be entirely forgettable were it not for her rapt inspection of the genitalia of a plush therapy doll while Nat and Josh look on, incredulous.

The ending is reminiscent of a Shakespearean comedy: very predictable and formulaic, but which I nonetheless for its high farce and the wry self-awareness of the characters’ responses to this. However, the lack of character development meant I felt nothing for them; a systematic flaw across the film as a whole, despite some great comic moments.

3/5

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