x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

I Give it a Year

Here, marriage doesn't come at the end of the movie but at the beginning. And it isn't long before the happy couple realise that they might have made a big mistake.

Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall in a scene from I Give It A Year. Courtesy Studio Canal
Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall in a scene from I Give It A Year. Courtesy Studio Canal

I Give it a Year
Director Dan Mazer Stars Rafe Spall, Rose Byrne, Simon Baker, Anna Faris, Stephen Merchant, Olivia Colman, Minnie Driver

****

Dan Mazer has an impeccable comedy pedigree, having helped Sacha Baron Cohen create Ali G, Borat and Bruno. He now steps out on his own as a writer and director with I Give it a Year, a rude and witty romcom that gleefully subverts the Richard Curtis formula, while simultaneously delivering some of the same feel-good emotions.

Here, marriage doesn't come at the end of the movie but at the beginning. And it isn't long before the happy couple, winningly played by Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne, realise that they might have made a big mistake. Just nine months into their first year, they find themselves in marriage counselling and looking to a quirky former flame (Faris), in his case, and a charming business client (Baker), in hers, for love.

Mazer's take on marriage is cynical, sour and at times painfully plausible. By the end, you're not rooting for the couple to stay together but to split up and find happiness elsewhere. If this makes it sound like I Give it a Year wants to have its wedding cake and eat it, that is precisely what it wants. And it pretty much succeeds, too, with hilarious, heartwarming results.

* Stephen Applebaum