Lowdown: Can a couple rushing to get married make it last a year?
While I certainly have my reservations concerning the depth of Netflix’ catalog, I cannot argue with the ease with which pickings are found. I Give It a Year is a case in point: a movie I have never heard of before that’s been offered to me based on my Netflix history. We picked it because it features Stephen Merchant, whose talents span from Portal to Cemetery Junction (with some TV comedy in between). And how right we were with our picking.
I Give It a Year quickly introduces us to its pair of lovers, Nat (Aussie Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall). The two are typical Londoners, and as we learn through a short montage they’re bold and beautiful. So they quickly get wed, and it is at their lavish wedding that we learn their peers are somewhat sceptical about the relationship’s long term success. These peers include Josh’s former lover Chloe (Anna Faris), an American living in London whose main focus in life is charity work, as well as Naomi (Minnie Driver), a fellow English woman who knows all about being stuck in a marriage with someone you don’t like. Oh, and there is also the idiot best man, played by one Stephen Merchant.
With the exposition done, our lovers go off to live the rest of their lives together. Which is when things start unravelling, particularly with Josh. This author's second book doesn’t seem to come off as easily as the first. Then it’s Nat who, through her advertising career, meets Guy: a ravish American millionaire who immediately falls for her (Aussie Simon Baker). At first she hides her being married from him in order to win her business; later, she hides her marriage from him for other reasons. In parallel, Chloe seems unable to let go of the Josh memory; not even her attempt at partaking in a threesome helps her there. And thus a chain of events leads to the potential unravelling of the marriage at hands, spruiked as it is by a series of non PC comedic situations.
For a light, non serious comedy, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed I Give It a Year. Rich in scenes of similar flavour to the aforementioned threesome, it found me frequently roaring with laughter. Even if most of these allegedly British characters are portrayed by non British actors, it is probably the Britishness of the production that allowed it to get away with tons of humour regular Hollywood would not dare getting caught out with.
It’s not just the humour. When was the last time you saw a movie glorifying the breakup of a relationship? Actually, I Give It a Year is not just a single dimension affair; it is to do with all sorts of relationship related regrets, as epitomised through Chloe realising her past mistake when she thought bigger and better things than Josh would come her way. For an hilarious comedy, there are some pretty serious things going on here.
Best scene: The parents give the married couple a photo LCD display screen for Christmas. The couple rushes in to plug their honeymoon photos’ USB stick in, forgetting their holiday photos vary in scope.
Overall: The best comedy is the surprise one, and I Give It a Year certainly surprised me (even though I knew Stephen Merchant was in). 3.5 out of 5 fresh crabs.