Year One
directed by Harold Ramis
(Columbia, 2009)

The trailer for Year One was funny enough when we saw it in the theater that my wife and I kept it on a short list of movies to watch -- and, while we never caught it on the big screen, we did finally rent it and settle in for a few hearty guffaws.

The thing is, Year One isn't all that funny. Certainly it pales beside that classic caveman flick, Caveman, starring Ringo Starr. Now, read that last sentence again and realize just what that means for Year One.

The movie has plenty of chuckles, sure -- many more earned by Michael Cera's dry, suffering wit than by Jack Black's over-the-top antics. But it never really comes together, particularly since many scene transitions are so abrupt as to seem like director Harold Ramis wasn't sure how to get from one point to the next; Year One strings together a lot of jokes and gags without worrying too much how they connect.

The movie begin with the basic premise that Black and Cera are inept cavemen and progresses from there. It turns out when they leave (are chased from) their village, they wander into a variety of biblical settings from Eden to Sodom, and they interact with Cain (David Cross) and (briefly) Abel (Paul Rudd), Adam (Ramis) and Eve (Rhoda Griffis), and Abraham (Hank Azaria) and Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). It quickly stops making sense, but that's probably not why you're watching it in the first place, right?

So forget about the story and just enjoy the lovely cavewomen (June Diane Raphael and Juno Temple) and snicker at the plentiful poop, pee and boob jokes. You can tell the cast is having fun, so it's best to sit back and experience Year One for what it is.

review by
Tom Knapp

7 November 2009

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