Review: I Give It A Year (2013)

Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne star in rom-com I Give It A Year, a film about what happens after happily ever after...

Of all genres rom-coms are perhaps the most polarising. Often dismissed as being overly sentimental or just a little too sappy the good ones often come from our fair shores. Unfortunately some not very good ones also find originate from the UK and I Give It A Year falls often flirts with being one from the latter category.

That’s not to say that the film doesn’t have the makings of something great. A solid cast (including the hugely likeable Rafe Spall) and an intriguing premise abound but the execution of the film’s plot lets the proceedings down.

The story is simple, if surprisingly little trod; we follow the lives of an unlikely pair after they tie the knot after a whirlwind romance reminiscent of the various rom-coms that have come before. As in such films the pairing is questionable; Josh (Spall) is childish whereas Nat (Rose Byrne) is supposedly out of his league and is a high-flying career girl. Thus the film’s title and general premise is born. Nat’s parents dislike her choice whilst her sister (Minnie Driver) can’t stand her own husband, resulting in one of the more memorable scenes of the film (unfortunately peaking in its appearance in the trailer).

Trouble brews when Nat catches the eye of Guy (Simon Baker), a handsome American whose only intention is to woo her. Mix in an old flame that Josh hasn’t told Nat about (Anna Faris makes a surprising appearance for this role) and the problems increase.

One of the main flaws with I Give It A Year is that all of the pitfalls, often weaved intricately into such films, feel contrived and obvious with some of the twists that face the central characters feeling about as nuanced as being taken by the shoulders by the film itself and being told to look out for the trouble ahead. The cast are relatively helpless in this respect and some are sadly under-utilised. Stephen Merchant‘s character comes across as too overblown for his own good whilst Olivia Colman, usually of such high callibre, is wasted here on some poor predictable dialogue.

You find yourself wanting to like the film, wanting to like it a lot, and some elements are enjoyable. Unfortunately the film rushes to its ending via a disappointing amount of smile-inducing moments – one involving a bird and a fast moving fan – but they’re not enough to save this film from proving to be somewhat forgettable.

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