They say opposites attract, and that was certainly the case with Ben and Nat. Are their differences what gives their relationship life, or will they be what pulls them apart? My review of the British romantic-comedy, I Give It A Year after the jump.
Struggling-writer Josh (Rafe Spall) and high-achieving business woman Nat (Rose Bryne) meet at a party and find that the sparks instantly fly. Josh is a an-easy going, somewhat awkward guy who is trying his hardest to make it as a writer. Nat works in marketing and is a highly strung perfectionist – she’s passionate about her work and her life and expects nothing but the best. Despite their obvious differences and some reservations from friends, the two marry in a lavish ceremony less than a year later.
The cracks begin to show pretty early on, and the pair are not sure if it’s just the strain of the first year of marriage, or if their match is not a good one. Little things like differences in family dynamics, behaviour at social occasions and how they do (or don’t) do the household chores begin to annoy each other. These small things add up to a general unhappiness and displeasure with their domestic life. The presence of Josh’s ex Chloe (Anna Farris) and handsome American client Guy (Simon Baker) only further tests their relationship. In principle they both want the marriage to work, and they love the idea of being married. However, are they more in love with the idea than they are with each other?
Perhaps it’s the British humour, but I found I Give It A Year much funnier than the average romantic comedy. The script was punchy and littered with amusing quips and realistic awkward moments, which was delivered fantastically by the great ensemble cast.
Rafe Spall was particularly strong, giving Josh just the right amount of dorky awkwardness and happy-go-luckiness. This was a guy that never knew what the right thing to say or do was, but he did the wrong thing with all his heart. I enjoyed Anna Farris in a role with more depth than the blonde bimbo that she often plays. Stephen Merchant is very funny [effectively playing himself] as Dan, Josh’s best friend. He has absolutely no filter and says what everyone else is thinking and so much more. An absolute scene-stealer who was the source of much of the film’s laughter.
Josh and Nat married after a relatively short courtship, and despite obvious differences in their lifestyle and social backgrounds. The film explores whether they took this big step because they wanted to or because they believed society wanted them to. I liked the way which it questioned marriage – both why people enter in to it, and the reasons why it is or is not worth fighting for. This is a film that goes beyond the beautiful wedding and perfect honeymoon, and dissects what it is to be actually married – warts and all.
Despite some weaker supporting characters and familiar romantic-comedy tropes, I Give It A Year is an entertaining romantic comedy with plenty of laughs, and more than a few cringe-worthy awkward moments.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Dan Mazer
Writer(s): Dan Mazer
Starring: Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Simon Baker, Anna Faris, Stephen Merchant
Runtime: 97 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: February 28 2013; USA: no date set