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I Give It A Year (15)
Cineworld, O2
15th January 2013


After falling in love at first sight, seemingly perfect couple Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) enjoy a whirlwind romance that leads them to the altar a mere seven months later. However, as Josh's dad points out: "The first year is the worst" and we soon discover that the couple's loving friends and family aren't counting on them to even make it to their first anniversary.

The film enjoys a strong start, with plenty of laugh-out-loud and cringe-inducing (in a good way) moments, largely brought by Stephen Merchant, playing Josh's best man Danny. However, as the cracks begin to appear in married life, the film also starts to falter.

With Josh's ex Chloe (Anna Faris) still on the scene and clearly not over him, we sense trouble ahead. And when ambitious account manager Nat meets handsome new client Guy (Simon Baker), there is a frisson of chemistry which doesn't bode well for her marriage. Josh and Nat are more suited to other people, yet both determined not to be the one who throws in the towel.

In many ways, when Nat meets Guy, the film has its own Sliding Doors moment - it could go one way or the other. Very average or truly excellent? Well, this is where director and writer Dan Mazer could up his game and move into Love Actually territory, with its complicated relationships and heartaches, yet still plenty of humour. Instead his script loses momentum. Mazer plods on, disappointingly taking the most obvious path he can find.

I Give It A Year certainly isn't bad, but it's just typical rom-com fare and could have been so much more. The lack of depth prevents us from scoring it any higher, but the film is still superficially funny and to be recommended if you're in the mood for a solid chick flick. Whilst we don't see Hugh Grant jumping around 10 Downing Street, we are instead treated to a gem of a scene involving Baker, Byrne and a rather unfortunate pair of doves. And Mazer does skilfully turn a reluctant threesome from a sordid event into a light-hearted one.

Indeed, whilst some of the jokes are a little crude - a gratuitous shot of full frontal male nudity nets the film its 15 rating (in a less endearing way than in Jason Siegel's Forgetting Sarah Marshall) - Mazer largely gets the balance right and keeps the audience on side throughout. Fear not, even in its weaker moments, this doesn't descend into the toilet (lack of) humour of last year's woeful British wedding comedy The Knot.

Jane Asher, Minnie Driver and Olivia Colman don't rack up that much screen time, but they do shine as Nat's mother, sister and marriage counsellor respectively. We saw Colman as Carol Thatcher in The Iron Lady last year and recently as the Queen in Hyde Park On Hudson, but it has been a while since we've spotted acting legends Asher and Driver on the big screen and they make a very welcome return here. Even if they do show up Byrne and Spall slightly.

This probably won't be the Britflick smash everyone has been hoping for and we give it considerably less than a year before it fades in your memory, but it's not the worst way to kick off 2013.

I Give It A Year was released in the UK on 8th February 2013.

Nearest tube station: North Greenwich for the O2 (Jubilee)

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