Movie review: Year One


0 out of *****

Year One — Hollywood’s latest excuse for a comedy — hit theatres this past weekend. The film stars Jack Black and Michael Cera, who have both come off a fairly successful 2008, with hits like Black’s Tropic Thunder and Cera’s Nick and Nora’s Infinte Playlist. Combining Black’s intense physical humor with Cera’s awkward, sensitive guy approach, the possibility of providing good laughs is there, but even though Year One does its best to try and be funny, it never succeeds.

Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) are members of a village in the jungle at the beginning of time. Zed, the village idiot, is one of the tribe’s hunters, while his friend, Oh, is a gatherer. One night out of spite to the rest of the village, Zed eats fruit from the Forbidden Tree of Knowledge and as a result is banished from the tribe. Oh doesn’t have a place of his own, so when Zed leaves he tags along. The pair find themselves venturing into new parts of the world, running into biblical characters like Cain and Abel, and spending nights with ancient Hebrews.

The idea of the movie — a satire about the beginning of time — is a great concept, but the script doesn’t know it can be funny. Throughout the movie, Zed and Oh kept changing directions in their adventure, making it impossible to follow the plotline. When the story got slow, the writers seemed to fill time with homophobia or poop jokes, and one liner opportunities were completely ignored.

Year One’s plot was as lost as the actors were on screen, and the script floated along without any clue or direction as to where it wanted to end up. Zed and Oh ventured into nonsensical places like becoming enslaved by ancient Romans, only to find themselves free and at Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac moments later. The result of this was not only disappointing and frustrating for the audience, but annoying as hell. Absolutely nothing happening on screen made sense. The plot did not exist and less than nothing happened. Nothing.

The acting was awful. Black and Cera portrayed the exact same characters they’ve been playing throughout their entire careers. Black tried to be funny with his loud, physical humor, and air guitar riffs, while Cera attempted to play same awkward, sensitive soft spoken personality that he’s been since Arrested Development. In their defense, these characters are funny sometimes, but in the right moments and with the right cast. This movie was not one of those moments.

The film lacked direction, the script didn’t know what to do, and the characters were completely lost. Black and Cera are such lovable actors, but they refused to give the audience anything to laugh at.

The only effect Year One has is to ruin a perfectly good night.

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