Sunday, January 12, 2014

I GIVE IT A YEAR | 2013 | One Uneven Step Forward for Rom-Com Kind.

I'm not sure why I clicked on this one when Netflix recommended it, and I'm really not sure why I kept it on.  It looked terrible, and within the first few minutes it was pretty clear it was terrible, and yet I kept watching.  Maybe I'm coming down with a cold, but I didn't turn it off.  Whatever the reason, I'm glad I kept it on because in the last 15 minutes or so, something interesting happens.

We all know rom-coms culminate with the big reveal, some version of "I love you" and/or "Will you marry me?" but in I GIVE IT A YEAR, the question that is popped is:  "Will you divorce me?"

After a (very) brief search of the Internet, I learned this film was lauded as groundbreaking for deconstructing the romcom genre.  I'm not sure about that, but I am sure that the last 20 minutes were the goal of this film - the spark of life; everything else was just a bunch of blah, blah, blah to get us there.

I don't recommend that you watch the movie, it's a really tough slog for a few bright, shining moments near the end.  That said, the near end is pretty great.  I kind of love it.  A generous and honest break-up.  Josh (Rafe Spall) asks Nat (Rose Byrne) for a divorce, explaining she's perfect but not perfect for him.  And she is thrilled!  I wish I could share the scene with you, but it's not up on the Internet yet.

I also really love how they stick the landing for the scene too, when Nat looks at the best friend of her soon to be former husband, and...

(Let's be honest, that's often the highlight of a break-up).

I don't love the additional scene on the train station platform where the couples realign to be with the best, most appropriate partner but, like the divorce scene, it is similarly generous and honest.  And sweetly idealistic, really.  Plus, it fits nicely in the tradition of "so tidy they're fully cheesy" screwball/early-romcom endings (see:  THE PALM BEACH STORY, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, THE AWFUL TRUTH and, well, probably a whole lot more).

Apparently Dan Mazer wrote this script because, with the exception of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY and KNOCKED UP, he was unsatisfied with the genre of late.  Which is saying something, those films are twenty-five and seven years old, respectively.  Mostly I agree with him, and I'm sad I can't get on board with this film.  That said, I think his effort could prove to be a good evolutionary step forward.  Perhaps I GIVE IT A YEAR will inspire another rom-com, and maybe that one will feel fresh and smart.  Maybe?

If you like romcoms, treat the existence of this one the way you would a news article about advances toward a cure for the common cold.  Not a reason to get too excited as it'll be years before you benefit, but take pleasure in the fact that there are people laboring to create a better future...  One with, maybe, a few solid rom-coms.


Released: 2013
Director: Dan Mazer
Leads:  Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Anna Faris, Simon Baker, Stephen Merchant, Minnie Driver
Writer:  Dan Mazer
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Plot review and other information about I GIVE IT A YEAR @ Wikipedia