So the awards season is coming to a close and the superheroes won’t be back until May. These three months are often a really interesting time for cinema releases. We should get to see some enjoyable smaller films that at other times of the year would struggle to escape the shadow of the Oscar bait and the blockbusters. I’m crossing my fingers for a couple of interesting independents and a few foreign language films that have been biding their time in the wings. This time last year we got the wonderful Martha Marcie May Marlene and The Kid with the Bike so lets see what Spring 2013 has to offer. Personally I’ve got high hopes for Stoker (http://youtu.be/JNpDG4WR_74) and Robot & Frank (http://youtu.be/q4y8YAMPFhk).
First out of the gate though we have this anti-romcom; I Give It A Year. The term anti-romcom gets wheeled out periodically and normally it just means that the featured couple shack up early before falling out and getting together in the normal formulaic fashion. I enjoyed Friends With Benefits but it didn’t invert the genre like they promised. Up In The Air is the one that got it right not in small part because they didn’t raise expectations with glib marketing slogans like ‘anti-romcom’. Still, they have slapped the label on I Give It A Year and I kind of think it lives up to the term. If anti-rom means its not romantic then that is definitely a good description of the film (although I fear this was not the intention) but there is plenty of com, this is a consistently funny film.
What we have here then is a very British comedy that starts with a wedding. Clearly it’s no Four Weddings and a Funeral but it really isn’t fair to make that comparison, that’s like criticising Doctor Dolittle for not being Doctor Zhivago (and talking animals are always fun). I Give It A Year follows the Four Weddings formula in that it has the prerequisite American and young people living in a flat they clearly couldn’t afford in real life but it does seem to avoid those hideous geographical anomalies where a character takes a short walk from Brighton to London’s Southbank.
The characters are all flawed but likeable which makes them a little more believable too and I was sure the dowdy Anna Faris was going to get a make over at some point but they avoided that cliché. They got the same effect by showing her in her scanties instead which saves us the hair and make up montage. The humour is a little ruder than Four Weddings as well which is saying something when you consider that that film started with two characters repeatedly saying ‘#u@k’ and ‘b~€€%r’ for five minutes.
There isn’t really a story to speak of here and I can see that this will be a problem for lots of people, that is certainly why it is hard to get swept up in the relationships, but you need to look at this as a series of comedy sketches. Imagine these people are recurring characters from The Fast Show and someone has edited all of their little bits together. If you put it in that context then I Give It A Year is a very funny hour and a half.
Is this one for the kids?
Watch this clip, it gives you the idea.