Everyone says that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but it doesn’t help when your previous girlfriend, who you never officially broke up with, is still on the scene; or when you’re so embarrassed by your husband’s ‘dancing’ that you refer to him as Beyonce, and deny all prior knowledge of him. Another British romantic comedy, we have high hopes that we can place Dan Mazer’s I Give it a Year alongside the big dogs: Love Actually and Notting Hill
…unfortunately we can’t.
Yes it starts off with a beautiful wedding, which reality will never let us afford. And yes the coughing vicar’s inability to pronounce the most important part of the ceremony is titillating, but we all know that a bottle of evian or highland springs is non-existent amongst the congregation, so the joke has already been worked out by the time we are given an obvious shot of the font. And yes, the prevention of the wrong couple going on a romantic break to Paris satisfies our cravings for a happy ending, but the setting on a platform is past clichÃ©d and just seems, well, tired.
The latest in what seems an inexhaustible line of romantic comedies has all the classic ingredients of miss-matched coupling, (Rafe Spall, Rose Byrne, Anna Faris and Simon Baker), uncomfortable in- law predicaments and Anglo-American stereotypes, but not quite the overall mastery which can begin to compete with the likes of Bridget Jones’ Diary. Maybe they should have cast Hugh Grant.
There are some glimmers of comedic gold. Now if you blink for just a moment, or rustle around in your pic n mix bag for the foam banana, you’ve probably missed them.
Minnie Driver plays Nat’s (Byrne) older sister, and does so with incredible cynicism. Overflowing with bitter disappointment for her boring husband and marriage, Driver delivers some of the funniest lines in the film, a particular favourite of mine is: “I’d ruin Bieber”. She provides the comic relief we are dying for in this predictable storyline. Every time we see her rolling her eyes we anticipate a serenely malicious comment to ensue. The only character to voice what we are all thinking, Driver’s comedic timing is a gem amongst Mazer’s gold plated treasure.
Stephen Merchant always seems to be in the ‘larger than life’ shadow of Ricky Gervais, yet he comes into a world of his own. It would be unfair on the adjective, inappropriate, to use it to describe Merchant’s foul, best man character. The epitome of a creep, he succeeds our crudest expectations, through his jokes about sleeping with the bridesmaids (bearing in mind they haven’t even hit puberty yet) and a wedding rap that manages to insult every individual at the reception. Although we laugh, we’re all thinking thank god he doesn’t know where I live!
If you like doves, charades and a couples councillor who comes complete with her very own rag dolls, then you won’t begrudge paying to see this light-hearted relief. For everyone else, it’s best left alone.