I Give It A Year - and Two Thumbs Up
by Chartreuse Green 25/2/2013 15.39
It is clear from the opening scene at the wedding reception that Nat and Josh are mismatched. Theirs is not a marriage but a mutual admiration society in which the admiration disintegrates into irritation as they each find the package different from the one they signed up for. Sessions with a hilariously overwrought counsellor, who at one time leaves the room to wrathfully upbraid her own partner on the phone, do little to help beyond demonstrating the couple's commitment. An unedited slideshow of the honeymoon screened to Nat’s horrified parents pours salt in the wound in a painfully funny scene.
Through the contrast with a wife who seems repressed and rigid, Josh becomes increasingly aware that the softly appealing, earth mother Chloe, whom he allowed to slip out of his life four years previously, is the one he should be with. Especially when he sees Chloe’s hidden depths while she helps Josh dutifully buy lingerie for his wife.
Meanwhile Nat is coerced into concealing her married status to deal with potentially lucrative client Guy (Simon Baker). Believing her to be single and seeing in Nat his ideal woman, he woos her. The boardroom scene with a violinist and a pair or doves is the funniest I've seen this year and left me helpless with laughter. The soul behind the businessman is revealed in the tour of his factory and Nat is overwhelmingly attracted.
However, the couple conscientiously set out to make it through the remaining three months to their first anniversary leaving Chloe and Guy to find solace in one another. Whilst doing their best to pay attention to each other and their marriage Josh and Nat are simultaneously jealously watching their soul-mates as the narrative tensely works towards a gloriously happy ending.
Rafe Spall fresh from his author in Life of Pi
, presents a harmless, laid back writer, who likes jokes and inebriated dancing. Rose Byrne is beautifully poised and handles the difficult role that, contrasting with Josh, has her character's drive, focus, and sharper intelligence come off as unsympathetically starchy, until transformed into a magnetically beautiful, warm glow under the lamp of Guy’s appreciation. Simon Baker is simply charm on legs. The attractive Anna Faris is convincing and appealing as the huggable, sexy-under-the frumpiness, Chloe. Stephen Merchant as Josh’s best buddy succeeds in being out the other side of annoying and thus providing yet another thorn in the side of the relationship, and Olivia Colman's demented counsellor is a must-see.
Every scene in I Give It A Year
is entertaining as we see four likable people behaving honourably through ludicrous temptation and being rewarded. Written and directed by Dan Mazer (Bruno
) it subverts its genre by believably turning the lens on a first year of marriage and yet succeeds in being romantic and satisfying. This tale reassures that there is no such thing as a failed relationship, any more than a failed experiment, if it succeeds in enabling the people involved to clarify the relationship they do want.