Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review - Year One

Two lazy and haphazard hunter/gather cavemen find themselves on the outside looking in within their tribe. When the two cavemen are banished from their village for eating the forbidden fruit, the two and set out on a epic journey throughout an ancient world that has a lot to discover.

"Year One" is easily the biggest disappointment of the summer. Having the talents of Jack Black and Michael Cera together would give reason to believe that the film has potential. Then you add the fact it is written and directed by the guy who had previously scripted hilarious comedies like; Caddyshack, Stripes, Back to School and Ghostbusters. It seemed like a no brainer that "Year One" would be a riotous event, but unfortunately that is not the case and instead you are treated with a painstakingly dull pre-historic comedy that is absolutely generic in every way.

Writer/director Harold Ramis ended up with a disaster of a comedy. A comedy that I found completely un-funny and terribly grating to complete. The film had very few (if any) sprinklings of quality dialogue, while most of it was heavy in cheap or slapstick jokes and chauvinistic material. Don't get me wrong, chauvinism can be hilarious (see Anchorman), but here in "Year One" the result is the grave opposite. The inability of Harold Ramis as director to get any resemblance of a quality performance from the entire cast propelled the film into a category of nearly unwatchable. Furthermore, there is no question that I will be avoiding any further viewings of the flat and uninspired comedy.

It seems in every actor's career there is that one film they just phone in, leading the viewer to believe they did the movie for nothing more than a paycheck. I never thought "Year One" would be the film that both Jack Black and Michael Cera phoned in together, but it is. I almost felt like while watching Black and Cera were playing a bad joke on the viewers. Their performances were the polar opposites to what we have seen previously from the talents and the result left a very bitter taste in my mouth. In the end, I felt robbed by two actors that I have always enjoyed and as a direct result dubbed "Year One" as the worst film of both Jack Black and Michael Cera's careers.

Not only is "Year One" completely humorless, but the story is terribly boring. The film follows Black as Zed and Cera playing Oh as they travel past the boundaries of their village. The film feels as though it was just thrown together on a whim, simply meandering along never really finding any real driving force. Along Zed and Oh's journey the duo come across Cain, Abel and other biblical figures and cities. None of these sequences came across remotely funny and even talented comedians like David Cross and Paul Rudd could not do anything to help the uncomical story.

There are a ton of poorly scripted characters that plague "Year One" making the entire movie a general waste of time. Actors that can create hilarious and rich performances like Oliver Platt, David Pasquesi, Horatio Sanz and Hank Azaria are lost in annoying characters created by Ramis. Their jokes are un-original and are so sophomoric that I just couldn't find myself enjoying the movie in the slightest.

Another aspect to "Year One" that was ultimately disappointing was that all of the funny material in the film was placed in all of the television spots and trailers. So by the time you were watching the so-called comedy, you had already heard the best jokes many times prior to seeing the actual film on screen. This made for every joke that gave "Year One" the appearance of being a hysterical movie a setup to fall flat, coming across not nearly as funny as intended.

Finally "Year One" was the biggest disappointment of the summer and a film that feels like it should have released somewhere back in the 1990s. The story is incredibly simplistic and ultimately tedious. Overall, I would rather watch Ringo Star's Caveman one hundred times before I watch "Year One" again.