Year One (12A)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Jun 23 2009Set at the dawn of humanity (sort of), a time of hunter-gatherers, peasant farmers and idol-worshipping Sodomites, ‘Year One’ wants to be seen as a freeform, knockabout trawl through Biblical history, perfect for an undemanding Saturday night. There are only two problems: it’s kind of dull and just isn’t funny.The film’s most obvious inspiration is Mel Brooks, notably ‘History of the World’. It’s an appropriate comparison: the films share a similarly ramshackle structure, reliance on pop-culture references and shameless mugging from a largely wasted cast. Dominating proceedings here is Jack Black, going through the madcap motions as hapless cave-schlub Zed, banished from his tribe with only naive sidekick Oh (Michael Cera) for company. The pair find themselves traipsing through the Old Testament, encountering David Cross’s murderous Cain and Hank Azaria’s circumcision-crazy Abraham, before ending up at the fall of Sodom.
If the stage seems set for some ‘Life of Brian’-style religious lampoonery, forget it: Ramis and his writers aren’t about to risk saying anything remotely controversial. Instead we’re treated to farting peasants, slapstick violence and a series of increasingly tiresome gay jokes courtesy of Oliver Platt’s Sodomite high priest. Ramis makes the best of spectacular locations, but the set and costume design is so shoddy the film looks more like a student revue than a Hollywood blockbuster. Which is another apt analogy: with its adolescent exhibitionism, scattershot improv and a general air of jokes-for-the-boys, ‘Year One’ belongs more to the college theatre than the multiplex.
Author: Tom Huddleston
Fri Jun 26, 2009