I Give It A Year
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Ambitious ad exec Nat and struggling writer Josh fall in love at first sight at a party. After seven months together they decide to marry. The film highlights their struggles during their first year of marriage, switching back and forth from flashbacks of the year to a marriage-guidance counsellor's office. Their wedding goes as planned despite many friends' commenting that the marriage will not last, an embarrassing best man's speech, and a coughing priest.
Later, Josh and Nat throw a dinner party to use their wedding gifts. Some of their differences are highlighted when talking about the honeymoon in Morocco; Nat didn't enjoy the leather museum whereas Josh remembers it as interesting. When the topic changes to Chloe, Josh's former flame, Nat discovers they never officially broke up when she went to Africa for four years. In the kitchen Chloe apologises to Nat for not realising she didn't know. The women talk about the constrictions of marriage. Nat's sister Naomi has issues with her own husband's annoying habits. Josh's best man Danny asks Chloe out but is rebuffed.
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 51%, with an average rating of 5.50/10, based on 82 reviews. The website's consensus for the film reads, "It's nowhere near as inventive as its reverse rom-com premise might suggest, but I Give It a Year is disarmingly frank -- and often quite funny." On Metacritic, the film has score of 50% based on reviews from 23 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The opening sequence shows a montage of a whirlwind relationship between Josh (Rafe Spall) and Nat (Rose Byrne). They marry seven months after their first meeting. During the wedding ceremony, the priest has a coughing fit before he can say the words "husband and wife," and Minnie Driver, who gives a deliciously bitter performance as Naomi, Nat's sister, murmurs to her husband, "I give it a year."
Josh is a novelist. He can't seem to finish his next book and spends his days lying around playing video games. Nat works as an executive in an ad agency, and is competent and driven. There is a class critique in the film. Nat says to someone that she was accustomed to driving Ferraris, and Josh represents a "Volvo," and, rather despicably, "I just needed to be behind the wheel of a Volvo for a while." There is no honeymoon period. Instantly upon getting married, Nat seethes with resentment about toilet seats being left up and who takes out the trash. Before Nat and Josh reach their one-year anniversary, they are in couples counseling, a device used to frame the storyline. As artificial as the device is, Olivia Colman is hysterical as the embittered man-hating couples counselor.
For the audience, this removes the stakes, but leaves us wondering how Mazer can possibly find a happy ending in divorce. No one is really a fan of divorce. We don't have divorce parties (although at the 50% divorce rate, it could be a burgeoning industry) and Hallmark hasn't gotten around to making "Happy Divorce!" cards. Although the marriage in I Give It a Year has been given the a ridiculously easiest out (their true loves are standing by the exit), Mazer makes sure no one is the villain. Josh does end up more on the bumbling and embarrassing side while Nat is slightly duplicitous and openly hostile, but she's also being wooed by the gorgeous Simon Baker. At one point, even Josh says to Guy, "I could eat you up with a spoon."
The film is packed with great one-liners, but never gets bogged down in going for one more joke at the expense of moving the story forward. Mazer knows how to best utilize the comic talents of his cast without letting them slow down the plot (yes, I am taking jabs Judd Apatow movies). Stephen Merchant, who plays Josh's friend Dan, could riff through the entire movie saying horribly offensive and inappropriate things, but Mazer keeps the role small, which makes Merchant's performance even more valuable. The same goes for Colman, who continues to amaze me in e