“Year One is full of number two”

Jack Black as a caveman, Michael Cera as his soft spoken sidekick; with a script written by the guy who brought us Animal House, Stripes, Caddyshack and Ghostbusters. That should be a formula for a pretty decent, off-the-wall comedy, wouldn’t you think? Well, sadly you would be wrong. Lately something has happened to the formula and all we get are comedies with an older audience rating but with humor that is on a 5th grade level. Sure films like Stripes and Animal House had moments of crudeness and sexual antics but there was an attempt to write something creative. This film has zero creativity and even less true humor. Mix that with thin characters and scenes that play like bad sketch comedy and you might as well toss Year One right on the garbage heap with Land of the Lost.

As I said the premise of the film had me excited. Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) are two banished cavemen who set off to new lands where they run into famous biblical characters. After eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge Zed feels he is being led by God to do great things. Along the way they stumble across the battle between Cain (David Cross) and Abel (Paul Rudd) as well as Abraham (Hank Azaria) and Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). When Zed and Oh discover that the rest of their tribe has been captured by the Romans and hauled off to Sodom and Gomorrah it is up to these two dim-wits to save the day; and a few virgins to boot.

I am mainly disappointed that this film is from the writing and directing hands of Harold Ramis. Stripes and Animal House are easily in the top 10 of my all time favorite comedies. These films have become classics with remarkable characters and quotable dialogue that has stood the test of time. So to watch the drivel that is Year One was so disheartening. I don’t blame Black or Cera one bit. I feel they did all they could do with the script they were given. There was simply nothing clever about this endeavor. Nothing to build upon or latch on to. No synergy to be found. Just one stupid joke after another. And trust me; I wasn’t offended nearly as much as a Christian as I was as a fan of comedy. I was cracking up watching the trailers for this and I expected the entire film to be as funny. But what you see in the trailer are the true gems and so you are left with nothing new to string them together. Plus having seen them all before they lose the effect in the movie. So I was left with nothing.

Year One is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, brief strong language and comic violence. Again there are things in here that will offend most who pitch their tents along the Bible belt. They play fast and loose with many Old Testament stories and events and nothing is sacred or off limits. But that is the nature of comedy and can be relatable and humorous if given the least bit of thought and effort. But it all goes back to doing it in a clever way. Mel Brooks did it splendidly with History of the World: Part I. Those hoping this film might have in some way been a Part II are in for a huge let down. There is nothing about this that was evenly remotely laughable or solid. Unless of course you are 7 years old and poop still makes you laugh. I give Year One 1 out of 5 Eunuch sacks. It is just god awful. So says Matt Mungle

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com) (6/18/09)

http://www.mungleshow.com

Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission

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