Year One

2009-08-20 16:18

What it's about:

Wise-cracking Zed (Jack Black) and awkward Oh (Michael Cera) are a pair of underachieving hunter-gatherer cavemen who are despised by their tribe and ignored by women. They decide to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, and the tribe drives them away. Along their journey they encounter Cain and Abel, Abraham, ancient Romans, and end up in the city of Sodom, with predictably puerile results, all while trying to rescue their "babes" from slave traders. Yawn.

What we thought:

This movie has been compared to Mel Brook’s The History of the World, and Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but it never hits the spot like either of those comedy gems. Jack Black plays Jack Black and Michael Cera is the nerd he played in Superbad. Stick them in an anachronistic ancient past, and voila, we have Year One. Not so much an amusing narrative as Beavis and Butthead mangle ancient history.

You want Jack Black accidentally throwing a spear into his fellow hunter’s back and cracking a joke about it? Check. You want Michael Cera forced to massage a camp, hairy fat man in Sodom? Check. The list of ludicrous situations is endless, but the laughs are in short supply, and for a movie that constantly aims below the belt, it’s just laziness.

Both Jack Black and Michael Cera are very funny in other movies, and to see them wasted in crap like this is just sad. Being directed by Harold Raimis (Caddyshack, Groundhog Day) makes it even worse, like a bunch of kids playing dress up when they discover a suitcase full of costumes. Given the combination of these three genuinely talented, funny men, I was hoping for so much, but was sorely disappointed. How hard is it to pull off a string of fart and penis jokes and get some fairly consistent chuckles? If Year One is anything to go by, it’s nigh on impossible.

There are some funny jokes to be had, but they are all kind of obvious and teenaged. It should tell you something that the most I laughed was when Michael Cera’s character is hung upside down and urinates in his own face. Keeping that in mind, one in every five or six jokes is that funny and that clever. The rest just fall flatter than the notion of Americans successfully copying the sarcastic and absurd genius of Monty Python, stripping it of all context, and having Jack Black mugging at the camera in place of a funny script.

A few funny moments aside, Year One is just plain bad. A teenage boy might find it amusing, but even then he'd probably still scoff at half of it. I really wanted to say something nice about this, because I love Jack Black and Harold Raimis, but even the poster sucks. Why can’t people just try harder?

A fur clad duo of losers wander through various biblical scenes while trying to score with the ladies.

EmTee 2009/08/25 8:20 AM
Thanks for the warning. Was contemplating watching this, but realise now that I would just find it insulting(since I have more than 10 brain cells).
Paul 2009/08/25 9:05 AM
Ah man, I so wanted this to be funny. I guess ill still give it a go.
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