Relationships can be funny and maddening, if you look at them in hindsight and with a large slice of both humor and sarcasm. “I Give It A Year” is hilarious from beginning to end, taking the typical romantic comedy mold and blowing it up through a ceiling fan with feathers flying, a highly welcomed gesture (and a hint at one of the THE funniest scenes).
This narrative is the story of Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall), a couple who are venturing into their first year of marriage, incorporating their family and friends’ sideline commentary and wagers on the potential success for this blissful union.
The first few minutes play out like a sappy Jared Diamonds commercial. Josh sees Nat from across a crowded party just as the fireworks are going off at what I’m guessing is a New Years Eve bash. They kiss in the rain, they share warm romantic times, they seem like the perfect couple. Why wouldn’t the next scene be of them standing at the alter committing themselves to a lifetime of marital happiness?
Just then Nat’s snarky sister, with her own marriage cross to bear and played by Minnie Driver, sets the tone for the film with, “I give it a year.”
In addition to Ms. Driver, the film’s cast is a veritable cavalcade of comedic stars, including Stephen Merchant as the best man with no social filter kicks off the film with a “holy crap I can’t believe he said that” wedding toast (a sneak peek is in the trailer), and Olivia Colman (Peep Show), who plays the couple’s marriage counselor that’s not quite suited for the job.
After the honeymoon is over, literally and figuratively, things start to go down hill. Personal habits and traits start to grate on each other’s nerves. Nat’s singing the wrong songs to words drives Josh nuts “Sweet dreams are made of these…I’ve traveled the world in generic jeans”), and Josh’s somewhat lazy lifestyle as a writer with a flair for ignoring household chores starts to unravel the relationship.
Throw into the mix Josh’s ex-girlfriend, an NGO worker who’s returned from Africa, and a wealthy CEO who’s hired Nat’s agency to put a spin on his company’s brand (played by Simon Baker from The Mentalist), and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep the story lively and sidesplitting throughout.
Hats off to Dan Mazer, a screenwriting partner with Sasha Baron Cohen in the films “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” and “Bruno, who has extended his talent into directing “I Give It A Year.” Partnering with Working Title, the British production company known for my favorite holiday film, “Love Actually,” and the classic “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” that union was one that could definitely be called a success; one I hope continues for years to come.
The film has been released in the U.K. and Australia and is seeking distribution in the U.S. during SXSW. Let’s hope it makes it to these shores. That would be “awesome.” You see, I need to see it again, since I missed some lines here and there given I and everyone else in theater were laughing so damn loud.
“I Give It A Year” has one more screening at SXSW today, Wednesday March 13 at 4:15pm at the SXSatellite: Alamo Slaughter.
UPDATE (April 2, 2013): Great news! “The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures announced today that they’ve acquired US rights to I GIVE IT A YEAR,” as stated in today’s press release. This will result in a theatrical and a VOD plan for those of use in the U.S. later this year.
“Solid bidding followed a great response at SXSW and at the end we went for the strongest theatrical commitment and for the largest piece of the pie. We have full confidence in Magnolia’s first class team and their aggressive distribution model which lends itself perfectly to our film, a model they pioneered and have been so successful with,” said Harold Van Lier, STUDIOCANAL EVP International Distribution.