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I Give It a Year


Stars: Rafe Spall, Rose Byrne, Anna Faris, Simon Baker, Minnie Driver, Jason Flemyng, Stephen Merchant, Olivia Colman, Jane Asher

Director: Dan Mazer

Here's a very lowbrow Brit romcom that thinks it's so smart. But it isn't. The potty-mouthed screenplay purports to tell the story of two totally unsuited people (Byrne, Spall) and their first year of marriage, but none of it registers as real.

No dinner parties or games of charades were ever like this, and all the characters have one-track minds, leading directly to sex. There are no innuendos here, only vulgarity for its own sake, and its own effect. Profanities and leering sexual references run through the film like a flood, nowhere more so than in a best-man speech by Merchant that should have had him thrown out of the reception. And I'm sorry, but no one puts pictures of themselves having sex on honeymoon on to a lap top set that might be shown to their parents.

How business exec Byrne was ever attracted to Spall in the first place is the biggest mystery; he's supposed to be a successful novelist, but is in fact a yob and drunken slob who doesn't look as though he could put two sentences together. Unsurprisingly, she is attracted to smooth American colleague Baker (from TV's The Mentalist), while he in turn still yearns for former girlfriend and save-the-world do-gooder Faris.

Driver and Flemyng show great comic timing and give their all to raise a smile, but the crass script defeats even their best efforts. Spall looks out of his depth, while Byrne is barely suited to her role. Baker and US comedy chick Faris can do little but look embarrassed.

Even as a portrait of the upper classes delighting in gutter talk it doesn't really convince. Give me the equally lowbrow but unpretentious Run for Your Wife (to be reviewed soon) any day.

David Quinlan

UK 2012. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour by Panalux.
95 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 03 Feb 2013