Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Year One

"Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

A fumbling hunter and an awkward gatherer are cast from their village after breaking their tribes most sacred law. But once out on their own, they discover their relegation may well be their chance at greatness.

Do you remember my review for The Hangover? I used an entry archetype called "Two Cents in Two Sentences." I did this because I feared that giving a full review to a movie that was so purposefully boiled down to pure fun and slapstick might be me missing the point. I have to say I regret that choice now.

Not because my motives were off, but because to use that archetype again so soon would feel like a cop out. Which means I have no choice but to try and find a way to review Year One. If I was gonna do a "Two Cents in Two Sentences" review for Year One, here's what it would be: Save your money. Save your time.
To be honest I was curious but not seriously interested in seeing this movie at first. Then, when I found out that Harold Ramis co-wrote and directed it- my hopes were elevated. For anyone who's unaware Harold Ramis is a writer who has been sprinkling our culture with comedy gems for decades, but he is most well known for his literary coupling with Dan Aykroyd which blessed the world and all upon it with the Ghost busters movies. And I'm glad that those two delectable films will be his career's legacy, and not mundane drivel like this.

Year One's efforts at hilarity are matched in intensity only by it's failures at the same. It is another one of those unfortunate situations where you watch the preview, chuckle out loud, and think that the movie could really be funny- only to hit the stadium seating find out that you have already watched all the funny parts in the preview. It's a damn shame too because once I realized that the plot of this movie is really two morons stumbling through infamous biblical events- it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Ramis' subtle satire. Instead I got 97 minutes of dick and fart jokes.

Dick and fart jokes delivered, might I add, by one of the poorest performances I have ever seen out of Jack Black. As a closet Tenacious D. fan and a man who enjoys many of his other films, I am certainly not a Jack Black hater. But his brand of humor falls so flat in this movie that you wouldn't even know it was there if you were looking at it from ground level. And Michael Cera doesn't do much to help with his usually entertaining "straight man" schtick.

Actually, speaking of Michael Cera, let me qualify those dick and fart comments. I think dick and fart jokes have a valid place in comedy. I've seen more than one movie that knocked me dead with them. But if their all middle school quality, then the only audience they'll ever really find is in a middle school; and if you were as miserable in middle school as I was, you know that there's nothing in this world worth going back for.

Year One is made up of an all star cast, which is probably supposed to be one of the big draws. The whole movie is full of faces and names that I've seen be so completely hilarious I was left short of breath- but not one of them manages to pull off more than a chuckle this time out. I guess in the end it just proves Harold Ramis' genius: He put how many stars this movie should get in the title.

Reel Deal Recommends:
Ghost Busters: for Harold Ramis at his best.
Shallow Hal: Jack Black leads in a movie as hilarious as it is oddly touching.

Superbad: For dick and fart jokes done right, and Michael Cera at his straight man best.

1 comment:

Watcher X said...

Superbad was the first movie we ever saw together.... great memories and awkwardness from so many men's equipment on the screen.... good times.

This movie = bad times.... we almost left the theatre -
Which is strictly against The Reel Deal's movie religion....