Tag Archives: British comedy

I Give it a Year

I Give it a Year film posterSynopsis

These are Minnie Driver’s words as she wonders how long the marriage between Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) will last.  Stephen Merchant is the best man at their wedding and makes embarrassing jokes at the wedding reception.  It’s about their marriage.  Nat works in a slick company, Josh is an aspiring writer who is interested in Chloe (Anna Faris), and Nat is interested in her American colleague Guy. Will the marriage survive?  They wonder about this as they visit a marriage guidance counsellor.  Minnie Driver plays the counsellor who’s own marriage seems to thrive on the contempt she has for her husband.  There are awful dinner parties and Christmas games, how will it end?


The comedy in this is often laboriously facetious and snide.  The couple appear to bear out Minnie Driver’s cynical dismissal of their marriage prospects.  Each bickers over the other’s mannerisms as the romance seems to be draining quickly out of their marriage.  There is rare hilarity when they visit a marriage guidance counsellor who is a paragon of irony, she manifestly cannot ensure her own domestic happiness as she interrupts her session to argue with her husband.  Stephen Merchant performs his usual one trick as the quick talking jerk whose supposed self deprecation snags into disparagement of others disguised as jokey adolescent “”blokey-ness”.  The toe nail curling scene at the wedding reception is well done but it all buttresses middle class self regard just as This is 40 does.  People hector each other thinking they’re so cool they can wallow in self deprecation.  Stephen Merchant’s performance is like one of those stand up comedians who talk fast enough to stop audience member hecklers from spoiling their jokes and by doing this betray a hectic insecurity.  Minnie Driver’s hilarious contempt for her husband is meant, in it’s unflattering cruelty, to be symptomatic of honest love.  In the end I Give it a Year succumbs to the same cosy sentimentality that this self regard is prone to.  It’s essentially a Richard Curtis rom-com with blunt speaking.  There are tearful unions and re-unions.  As we have seen in many romantic films (since Breakfast at Tiffany’s) the characters get soaked in the rain  and join up in tearful reunions just like in Four Weddings and a “Funeral. The general disparagement only serves to reinforce the film’s endorsement of conventional endings.  This film should go in the refuse bin.

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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in At the cinema, Film Reviews


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