Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) have been married for nine months and are succumbing to the old adage that the first year of marriage is the hardest.
I Give It a Year is just the kind of supremely forgettable rom-com that we could do without. Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall, as the centre of the story, get on one another’s nerves, but while Spall comes off as clumsy but well meaning and charming, Byrne is reduced to an irritating harpy whose nagging is sure to see anyone off.
Faring better are Anna Faris and Simon Baker as the love interests for the married couple. Faris balanced dorky and sweet rather well, and Baker has the kind of sophisticated charm that a girl like Nat would be drawn to. Anna Faris has made a career out of playing the unpredictable love interest and, while she dials it back into the realm of the believable here, she is still quirky enough for the audience to love her. Baker is given less of a chance to shine, but he comes off well, even though the audience may find themselves wondering what kind of a character thinks doves in a confined space was romantic.
The supporting cast are a mixed bunch; Minnie Driver is an aggressive, hateful woman who seems to hide her love for her husband (Jason Flemyng – completely underused) under a layer of disdain, but is rather funny while doing so, but Stephen Merchant – known for his uncomfortable brand of comedy – is too awkward and so socially clueless that the audience will surely find themselves hating him by the end.
Written and directed by Dan Mazer – the guy who brought us Borat and its less funny brother Bruno – I Give It a Year obviously has its heart in the right place – like the central couple – but it just does not work. Jokes fall flat and awkward comedy has gone downhill and out of favour in the last few years. There are some wonderful one-liners, but not enough to carry the film. The standout moment is the one that changes everything and turns the rom-com formula on it’s head, but it comes too late to save the film.
I Give It a Year is a well-meaning comedy that is not as funny as it thinks it is. It’s great to see Anna Faris back on screen, and it’s good to know that Rafe Spall can almost carry a rom-com as the leading man. There are some great moments, but ultimately, the film falls flat and is oddly forgettable.