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Sunday
Jun212009

Year One

Jack Black, Michael Cera, Hank Azaria, Paul Rudd, Harold Ramis, David Cross and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. With such an impressive list of hilarious people, comedy fans around the world have a terrific reason to be excited for Year One. Their funny radar should be going wild right about now and they should be flying high in anticipation. Well, I'm about to shoot them down. Year One is awful; a damn near travesty that wastes the comedic talents of everyone involved and it should be avoided at all costs.

Year One doesn't boast much of a story, unless you count "fat idiot and skinny loser say stupid things" as a story. Unfortunately, I don't. I call that a comedy sketch, and that's precisely what this film felt like. It felt like a five minute "Saturday Night Live" short stretched to the breaking point. What could have been funny in one small dose is grating on the nerves at a painfully long runtime of an hour and 4o minutes.

What the movie does is take Jack Black and Michael Cera to seemingly unrelated locales and have them interact with different characters inconsequential to the narrative, which leaves little room for a coherent story arc. In fact, this could be one of the most stupidly confusing movies I've seen all year. On their journey, they meet up with Cain and Abel and travel to Sodom and Gomorrah, creating many biblical references, but it never makes a point. These biblical implications have no payoff and work only as a means to get the characters from one place to the next. But what is its setting? Is it taking place during biblical times? If not, then when? It's called Year One, but its historical timeline is nebulous.

Maybe I'm looking a bit too much into it. After all, this film is merely a vehicle for Black and Cera to show off their comedic talents, both of whom are usually funny. The problem is in their foolish refusal (or lack of ability) to change their styles. Each actor plays basically the same role in each of their respective movies, and that doesn't change here. However, their two styles conflict with each other, never creating a comedic fusion between the two. Black is more over the top with his crazy antics while Cera is more downplayed and sarcastic. The duo had zero comedic chemistry because their differing styles allowed no room for them to play off of each other. Watching Cera desperately try to cling onto something funny from his comedic opposite was embarrassing.

Still, I hesitate to place all of the blame on bad casting because the jokes simply aren't funny. Black and Cera may not be the perfect couple to put opposite each other, but they still do a competent job trying to make something out of nothing, but then again, that is its main problem. There's nothing here. The jokes are terrible, consisting of gross out humor that only the most juvenile of teenagers and children will think are funny, including scenes where Black eats manure and Cera urinates on his own face.

Likewise, too many of the jokes went nowhere, with scenes abruptly ending before any type of punchline was delivered, including a wasted scene with Paul Rudd where his character is relegated to fisticuffs with his brother who eventually kills him. Hilarious.

Year One sports two, maybe three, somewhat amusing jokes that are spread throughout, but even that's only an average of one every 33 minutes. This isn't as bad as, say, Land of the Lost, but considering the impressive amount of talent involved, this is much more disappointing, which you could argue is far worse. I hate to say it, but Year One is a huge waste of time.

Year One receives 1/5

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