Complete A-Z list

Year One


Stars: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, David Cross, Juno Temple, Vinnie Jones, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Olivia Wilde, June Diane Raphael, Gia Caredes, Xander Berkeley, Harold Ramis, Rhoda Griffis, Kyle Gass, Paul Rudd, Bill Hader

Director: Harold Ramis

Too few laughs prove the downfall of this ancient-times comedy. Director Ramis assembles what seems like half the current cult comedians in Hollywood, but neglects to provide them with a decent script.

Cavemen Zed (Black) and Oh (Cera) flee their village after setting fire to it. Via Cain & Abel and Abraham & Isaac, they end up in Sodom, an Arab desert kingdom where virgins are sacrificed to appease the gods.

Ramis' direction lacks the lightness of touch this sort of thing needs, and genuinely funny moments are few and far between. 'Drag her back to your hut,' advises Black to Cera, smitten with Eema (Temple). Cera hesitates. 'My hut's a mess,' he complains. Cera's delivery is much more subtle than Black's, but even he becomes tiresome towards the end.

And, all too often, the writers fall back on tired situations and characters, especially in a career-worst performance by portly Platt as Sodom's high priest. 'You make me laugh,' says Zed's girl (Raphael) to Black. Would that he had the same effect on us.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour by deluxe.
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

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

Review date: 21 Jun 2009