Year One

Year One (Jack Black, Michael Cera, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria) – Stupid.  Stupid.  And a little funny.  When will Hollywood learn that so-called “high concept” comedies rarely work?  Land of the Lost represents one of the few Will Ferrell failures, only bringing in $44 million on an estimated $100 million budget.  Year One is just like that.  You start with the premise – this is Year One.  Of what, we don’t know.  There is Cain and Abel.  But there are also people from centuries later – from Abraham through the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The “high concept” is that the cave men we see are primitive hunters and gatherers but speak English and use 21st century euphemisms.  I’ll see almost anything with Jack Black, who I think is a brilliant comedic actor who was worthy of an Oscar for High Fidelity.  And Michael Cera was so endearing in Juno and so lovable that I figure their comedic pairing would work.  It does at a certain level.  But Director Harold Ramis  (Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Analyze This) takes it too far.  Ramis is from the old John Belushi post-Saturday Night Live days and sometimes forgets that audiences will follow him only so far.  Year One goes too far.  This is a Judd Apatow Company production, which ensures that the gags will be way over the top and the grossness will be ever-present.  What makes this movie watchable is imagining just how much the cast must have realized how inane this all was.  The fact that they didn’t laugh all the way through it is amazing, and Ramis at least gives us outtakes during the credits to prove they did have a good time despite the costumes and loincloths.  I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone but I also wouldn’t put it on my “worst of” list.  It is a bold attempt to carry off a bad premise that just falls flat.

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