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YEAR ONE

SYNOPSIS:
When a couple of lazy hunter-gatherers (Jack Black and Michael Cera) are banished from their primitive village in the year 1, they set off on an epic journey through the ancient world.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Targeting with surgical precision the teenage market with a keenly juvenile sense of humour, Year One brings together every manner of silliness that can be crammed into the concept. The concept being that Jack Black and Michael Cera are thrown back in time to an era when their jokes had not been heard before - and wouldn't their personas be funny in that setting?

The setting begins as a prehistoric village, but the action soon moves into Bible country with Abraham and the threat of circumcision a running gag. Biblical figures speak more Biblically than Jack Black and his sidekick, with Hank Azaria almost recognisable under his costume as an escapee from Night at the Museum 2. Gross bodily fluid jokes, penis jokes, fart jokes and plain old bad jokes litter the world of Year One, in what must have been a full-on side splitting escape for the writers - led by none other than Harold Ramis, who made the minor classic, Groundhog Day. Clearly, the man has range ...

This critic proof movie can't really be described in standard adult terms, although it does brazenly juggle with the idea of God's existence. Yes, in a jokey way, of course.

Novelty elements to watch for include a silent Aussie actress Gia Carides as the queen, Oliver Platt as the tubby shaman who likes oil rubbed on his hideously hairy belly by Michael Cera and a fiery inferno inside a giant bull's head where virgins are sacrificed to pressure the gods to grant rain. Abandoning restraint, Harold Ramis makes the most of his two leads in what turns out to be a series of sketches very loosely connected by a cotton line of a story.

It's a bit of a mess, but that's what is intended. Besides, you have to admire his endurance; at his age (which is my age) this would have been a marathon of moviemaking in every sense.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

YEAR ONE (M)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Jack Black, Michael Cera, David Cross, Oliver Platt, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Vinnie Jones, Hank Azaria, Juno Temple, Gia Carides, Xander Berkeley

PRODUCER: Judd Apatow

DIRECTOR: Harold Ramis

SCRIPT: Harold Ramis, Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alar Kivilo

EDITOR: Craig Herring, Steve Welch

MUSIC: Theodore Shapiro

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jefferson Sage

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 18, 2009







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