I Give it a Year

What is it with RomComs?  Every time I come away disappointed. I Give it a Year tempted me however, first, because it was an English film (dreams of a new Four Weddings) and, second, because it has some fine actors – Jane Asher, Minnie Driver and man-of-the moment Ralph Spall. But I should have been alerted by the slug ‘By the writer of Borat’ and Stephen Merchant’s name on the bill.

Now I don’t know about you, but I find Britcom of the Ricky Gervais variety (often co-scripted with Stephen Merchant), and films like Love Actually, totally cringe-worthy. On the other hand, I did find some moments of Boratand Brunovery funny, though did have to slump low into my seat at others. 

There are so many dud moments, starting with the opening wedding scenes with the very unfunny choking vicar at the ceremony and Danny’s (Steve Merchant) idiotic Best Man’s speech where, listing his duties, he says one is to ‘have sex with the bridesmaids’. Cut to two dear little girls aged about four and five: ‘Oh I wrote this before I saw them’ he says breezily, ‘but maybe when they are older’. Talk about lead balloon time. And that’s just the start…

As the film develops and it becomes clear that Josh (Spall) is as yobby as his best mate, and Nat (Rose Byrne) as posh as her designer clothes and super-slim body suggest, you wonder what on earth made them get married. After all, they did go out for nine months so they must have got to know each other just a teensy little bit in all that time. It is also completely fathomless how Chloe (Anna Faris) – Josh’s first love, outed by Danny in yet another skin-crawling moment at a the first newly-weds’ dinner party – still burns a candle for him. She is, after all, a charity worker who has spent four years working in Africa.

There are, of course, some quite funny gags too. Olivia Coleman steals the show as the marriage guidance counselor, whose own marital problems take centre stage during their session, and who is obsessed by the sex dolls she uses to explore relationship issues. Nat’s admirer, Guy, the hunky and handsome Simon Baker, provides yet another in his set-piece seduction, where he unleashes two white doves in a small room, with a fan, serenaded the while by a gypsy violinist. The sexy underwear joke also evokes a genuine smile.

But the laughs are hard to find – as hard as it is to write a normal length review -and even the sang-froid of Jane Asher, the acerbic Minnie Driver, and the cameo by Nigel Planer as Josh’s dad, fail to save this movie.

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