Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: I Give It A Year

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Nat (Rose Byrne, left) and Josh (Rafe Spall) at their wedding, in a scene form I Give It A Year. Photo / Supplied
Nat (Rose Byrne, left) and Josh (Rafe Spall) at their wedding, in a scene form I Give It A Year. Photo / Supplied

Dan Mazer co-wrote the screenplay for Borat, so as he is both writer and director of this anti-romantic comedy, it's little surprise there are some cracker laughs to be had, and that on occasion the gags thud flat on the floor.

It's what you expect from Mazer, the man who writes characters who say and do what most of us wouldn't dare. The charge is led by Stephen Merchant (The Office) who plays Danny, the tactless, offensive best friend of our male lead. Hilarious one minute and boorish the next, he's surrounded by a host of other characters who are also by turns likable and irksome.

Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) and Rafe Spall (Life of Pi) play Nat and Josh, a couple who fall in love at a party and marry in a lavish wedding eight months later. They have very different approaches to life - she's an ambitious, sophisticated advertising executive and he's a laid-back, contemplative writer - and once they're married these differences start to needle them.

Determined to disprove those who didn't give the marriage a year, they attend counselling to iron out their issues, but as they work to get the romance back in their relationship, Nat is distracted by a sexy client (The Mentalist's Simon Baker) and Josh is distracted by an ex-girlfriend (Anna Faris).

I Give It a Year joins the trend of recent romantic comedies trying to stretch the predictable and formulaic storylines we've come to expect from the genre.

The performances by the supporting cast are over-the-top, and at times scene-stealing, with Merchant joined most notably by Olivia Colman as an unstable marriage guidance counsellor, and Minnie Driver as Nat's sharp-tongued sister.

Among all the blunt talking, there are also some stinging home truths about relationships and, well, being human. As long as you can deal with romantic leads who are rather flawed and a more cynical tone than you may expect, you should find plenty to laugh about, offset with the odd grimace.

Stars: 3/5
Cast: Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall
Director: Dan Mazer
Running time: 97 mins
Rating: M (offensive language and nudity)
Verdict: A mixed bag of laughs that hit and miss

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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