Movie review: I Give It A Year not your average rom-com
Rom-com: I Give It A Year stars Australia's Rose Byrne and Simon Baker, alongside Anna Faris, Minnie Driver and Stephen Merchant.
TEN minutes in, you would be forgiven for thinking Aussie Rose Byrne's latest film I Give it a Year is your typical English romantic comedy.
After a quick montage explaining how loved-up couple Nat (Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) met, there's the sprawling garden wedding, the upbeat pop music and the cringeworthy speech from socially-awkward best man Danny (The Office writer Stephen Merchant).
However, I Give it a Year may have been produced by the same people behind Bridget Jones's Diary and Love Actually, but it's written and directed by Dan Mazer (Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator and writer for the likes of Bruno).
The combination delivers an enjoyable in-your-face funny film, but one that is never as memorable as the romantic comedies it's subverting.
As well as self-aware comments, such as how the wedding "was just like a Hugh Grant film", because it's taking of rom-coms, all the cliches are purposely in the movie.
There's the final car chase a la Notting Hill and the confrontation during a rainstorm like Four Weddings and a Funeral, but you're not desperately hoping Nat and Josh will be together forever.
No, instead you're hoping they'll break up, so they can live happily ever after.
As Nat's sister, a scene-stealing Minnie Driver says during the wedding "I give it a year", which is precisely what the film is about, as it tracks this oddly matched and often quite dislikeable couple's first year of marriage.
Byrne, who sports an English accent and uptight demeanour as Nat, isn't the only Aussie in disguise in the cast.
Simon Baker plays her American client Guy, a suave entrepreneur far better suited to her than Josh, an often boorish man-child, who also runs into temptation when an old flame, the sweet, do-gooder Chloe (Anna Faris) comes back into his life.
Faris has been given the dowdy make-up treatment in an attempt to make her look more plain as Chloe, but it's actually nice to see her playing a more realistic person, instead of the dim-witted blondes she's been stereotyped into.
She's still given some great comedy moments to work with, particularly when her shy character finds herself in a threesome and doesn't know how to handle the situation.
I Give it a Year is filled with that kind of awkward humour, but it also varies into the absurd, blunt British humour reminiscent of a Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant no-holds-barred kind of comedy.
The tone is happily ridiculous in parts, like Nat and Josh's bizarrely accusatory marriage counsellor, Driver's mainly hate relationship with her husband, or when Guy, in a romantic gesture for Nat, releases two doves in a room that has a ceiling fan.
However, it balances these moments with some surprisingly real domestic moments, like when Nat and Josh argue about emptying the bins or when he doesn't put the seat down on the toilet or refill the paper.
Zany and original, I Give it a Year is no Love Actually, but it offers something different for those sick of the tired old romantic comedy formula.
I Give It A Year (M) is out now.
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Annual affair: Nat (Rose Byrne, left) and Josh (Rafe Spall) at their wedding in I Give It A Year.