I Give It A Year starts out with an interesting premise for a romantic comedy. Rather than chronicle how a couple falls in love, it chronicles how unhappy they are with each other shortly after marriage. We only start to see the cracks of this relationship after a short montage of how adorable they were when they started dating.
So here we are, following two very likable yet unlikable people in Rose Byrne’s Nat and Rafe Spall’s Josh. I say they’re unlikable because they seem like the most unsavory people you could meet. It’s hard to imagine anyone getting along with these two. They both get annoyed at each other for the smallest things. He hates when she makes up song lyrics to popular songs and she hates that he likes to joke around all the time. That’s why they hate each other.
The purpose of that is to make sure that the audience knows that these two aren’t meant for each other, but it feels rather heavy handed. We understand that there is no chemistry between them and they don’t get each other, there’s no need to use the heaviest writing and scenarios possible to illustrate that.
Within the first 15 minutes two wildcards are introduced: Simon Baker and Anna Faris. They play two folks that are well suited to the two main characters. Baker is more serious and intellectual, and I assume he doesn’t mind making up lyrics for popular songs. Faris likes to joke around and is a bit of a hippy.
And that leads to another frustrating part about this film: it’s pretty predictable. You know what’s going to happen within 15 minutes, but the film takes a windy, ziggy and zaggy way to getting there. And sure, there would be no movie if not for twists and turns and resistance, but there’s a way to shield predictability and make these things feel organic. This movie doesn’t do that.
Despite its many negatives, I think this film largely works as a deconstruction of the romantic comedy genre. It’s hard to tell whether it admires rom coms or hates them however, as some of the ribbing on rom com tropes can be a little mean spirited and extremely cynical. Yet the film resorts to some rom com tropes to carry the story forward. It almost feels like someone came in late in the development of the script and wanted to turn it into more of a rom com so that they could sell it as such.
Either way, the main saving grace of this film is that it can be absolutely hilarious and the actors are charming enough to make you forget about hating the characters souls. There are moments in this film that are quite brilliant, and if you’re a fan of humor that takes advantage of awkward situations you’ll be like Scrooge McDuck jumping into his money pit.
Minnie Driver and Stephen Merchant contribute to the movies hilarity in good amounts, and Spall’s comic time and charm work wonders to safe his character. Even Byrne is able to squish out some likability for her ice queen.
Overall, I Give It A Year is a worthwhile comedy that has some good awkward humor and hilarious moments that keep it compelling. It’s not going to win any awards for having a great script or the most likable characters, but it’s entertaining enough to watch with a significant other and have a good time.