November 17, 2009
There’s something about a Jack Black movie that very few other films can capture. The man is either a comedy genius, or he’s a subject or great intrigue. Even when he’s not trying to be funny, his face, his mannerisms, even his body seems to scream humour. It’s a rare gift, and one that has served him well.
With that in mind, Year One (directed by former Ghostbuster Harold ‘Egon’ Ramis) should have been a riot. The trailer certainly promised much, but for some reason it didn’t quite have the flow required to become the hit it should have been. It certainly had the jokes, and it had the great comedy turns (Hank Azaria, better known as Mo from the Simpsons, was hilarious) yet the film didn’t quite work, suffering from pacing problems.
It probably didn’t help that much more was filmed than was actually shown in the final cut. There is a extended cut on the DVD which shows this, but when scenes were left unfinished in the theatrical release it really grated on the audience. Just how did Michael Cera escape from the snake, and how did he escape from the tiger? No effort was made to explain it in the film, suggesting that Ramis didn’t really care.
Cut scenes down for pacing, by all means, but don’t cut out important parts so that film makes little sense.
Former Wimbledon (the football team, not the film or the tennis tournament) hard man Vinnie Jones was a welcome sight as a sodomy loving soldier, and together with Azaria’s circumcising oddball, the two stole the show.
Jack Black was again in his element, making fart jokes, chasing after women he couldn’t possibly get and even eating bear shit at one point, but even he couldn’t save the film from being one of his poorer efforts; certainly when compared to The School of Rock for example.
Year One is enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but it’s one of those films that should have been so much better. It should have been hilarious, but sadly left a little bit to be desired.