Careful! This is Love Actually written in Minora blades and sprinkled with Tabasco. It is a cruel, shocking, often irritating black comedy in which the director does his utmost best to aggravate you – yet in the process the truth manages to surface through the vitriol. You can feel the poison dripping out of the words.
How often have you attended weddings, cynically sniggering in the background: “I give it a year”? It is quite obvious from the start that scriptwriter and director Dan Mazer doesn’t give a damn whether you like his crude, offensive one-liners and cruel situations or not. This is how real, unsanitised characters talk and you either accept it or leave the cinema. He is brutally honest and confronts an unsuspecting audience with those very emotions and fears about marriage that they seldom address in their real lives.
An odd couple marries, but it is obvious that they have a recipe for disaster. But because society expects it from them, they try to make the failed marriage work. They are bluffing themselves while trying to keep up a front (as so many couples do) that nothing is wrong. The problem is, they don’t fool anybody – only themselves. So when Rose Byrne and Timothy Spall meet other partners, (the wonderful and courageous Anna Farris and the ultra-cool Simon Baker), the audience realises that the wrong people got married. But will the right couples find each other in time? Do we care enough for them to stay to watch?
Right from the start, I Give it a Year mercilessly satirises holy institutions, family traditions and formalities. Perhaps the most obnoxious and insufferable master (monster?) of ceremonies in the history of cinema, played to perfection by The Office’s Stephen Merchant, delivers the truth in bland, uncaring fashion as he toasts the new bride and groom. If we didn’t get it in the altar scene that this marriage is doomed, we certainly get it here in no uncertain terms. Once you have survived those scenes, though you are relatively okay for the rest of the piece.
But wait, there is a cringe-worthy threesome, so funny you scream with laughter and then realize that it hurts as well, and a romantic scene with doves that clearly elevates (or lowers?) this film to new places as a dark comedy.
This type story is only recommended if you like to laugh at somebody being buried alive through his or her own stupidity. It is outrageous, hysterical and without an inch of dignity. But somewhere deep down you may laugh in spite of yourself and realise that love can indeed play the cruellest tricks of all.