Besides its dozen or so big laughs, and its winning streak of middle-upper-crust love-life jadedness, Dan Mazer's I Give It a Year has going for it a trait you might have thought had been bred out of romantic comedies by now: suspense about who its leads will happily-ever-after with. Writer-director Mazer even strikes at the heart of an actual dilemma faced by actual humans. Instead of giving us the usual bumbling singles-- beautiful, charismatic actors and actresses fit as professional trainers and pretending, ridiculously, that nobody anywhere is willing to love them-- I Give It a Year opens at a sumptuous wedding and then follows along as its couple works out whether they really meant forever-ever. Nat (Rose Byrne) discovers Josh (Rafe Spall) is a bit of a prat; Josh discovers Nat isn’t much fun. But each makes a go of it, even as they face weirdly parallel temptations from idealized alternative mates. Josh reconnects with do-gooder ex Chloe (Anna Faris, the film's most agreeable presence), Nat with Simon Baker’s millionaire industrialist, a charming oak of a man carved out of a block of pure handsomeness. The dilemma: Should young-ish folks uncertain their marriage is a good idea stick with it out of duty to the idea of it, to the possibility it might work out? Their choices, and the surprises Mazer springs before everything gets resolved, prove not just diverting but surprisingly thoughtful, even if we're never given too much reason to care about Nat and Josh. Neither has that Hugh Grant knack for making the love-plights of the beautiful feel universal, a shame considering the scenario is reasonably fresh.
Dan MazerAnna Faris, Rose Byrne, Simon Baker, Jason Flemyng, Minnie Driver, Rafe Spall, Stephen Merchant, Olivia ColmanDan MazerTim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Kris ThykierMagnolia Pictures