Film review: I Give It a Year (15)

 

Dan Mazer's fitfully amusing but horribly contrived romantic comedy (released in time for Valentine's Day) takes the Working Title formula patented by Richard Curtis a decade or so ago and adds a bit of lads'-mag humour to the mix.

The two newlywed protagonists, Rose Byrne's career woman Nat and Rafe Spall's drifting young novelist Josh, have little rapport with one another. That is partly the point. They've married almost for the sake of it and then discover that they're not suited at all.

The storytelling is episodic and uneven. As Nat is drawn to a handsome American businessman (Simon Baker), Josh spends more and more time with his ex-girlfriend Chloe (Anna Faris). The best moments are the crudest: Stephen Merchant's leaden, obscenity-driven Best Man's speech, the scene in which Josh's prudish in-laws see his honeymoon sex photos or an excruciating game of charades in which he struggles to get his audience to identify Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman by pointing at the women's crotches.

The supporting cast is excellent value. Minnie Driver, Olivia Colman, Merchant and Jason Flemyng all play characters with a very jaundiced and sarcastic view of love and marriage. Even so, this remains a hit and miss affair. Writer-director Mazer – who co-scripted Borat and Brüno – shows an obvious flair for comedy but struggles to move beyond genre clichés when it comes to the romance part of the equation.

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