Monday, September 07, 2009

Year One


Compared to the other comedy, I had somehow enjoyed Year One a lot more than Dance Flick if not because the latter had lacked more coherent scenes, slapping incident after incident of spoofs in clear narrative disregard in what would be a sad state of affairs where Hollywood comedies are concerned. Year One, written and directed by veteran Harold Ramis was a lot more fun, even though it had Jack Black and Michael Cera not in top form while playing off one another.

As the trailer would have already suggested, Black plays Zed, a bumbling hunter who just cannot spear, and is seen as a chief liability to his tribe. His good friend Oh (Cera) is not a favorite either, in an era where only those who cannot, become gatherers in a time where one's career is either one of the other. Driven out of their tribe, or the duo would like everyone to think that they are seeking better fortunes, so begins a life full of adventures, self-discovery and the likes, involving capturing of prisoners and the rescuing of the loves of their lives Maya (June Diane Raphael) and Eema (Juno Temple), quite like Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, except our characters here all speak English.

Ramis went imaginatively wild with the premise, setting the stage for our unlikely heroes to meet up with various Old Testament legends, like Cain and Abel (David Cross and Paul Rudd respectively) and their parents, Abraham (Hank Azaria) and Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka McLovin from Superbad), amongst others. As we are likely to know what was recorded in books, Ramis played it fast and loose, and short of being blasphemous, was actually insanely fun, given huge does of self-deprecating and toilet humour, courtesy of Cera and Black.

With themes like friendship, developing of character strength and redemption, perhaps what would make you sit up and take notice, is the film's rather pointed aim at religious fanaticism and the belief in self-proclaimed prophets. As the people of the land suffer from a prolonged drought, it is the clergies and the self-righteous who claim to have direct links with the guy upstairs, who eat and sleep good, while creating a mythical aura of invincibility surrounding their beings. Which of course Zed and Oh tear down in a jiffy, and in quite an unnecessary, unfunny but preachy tone, set out to make a comment or two with regards to such profiteering of mankind's superstition.

Jack Black and Michael Cera didn't exactly share much chemistry together as buddies, which Ramis had preferred that they stick tot their duly recognizable sterotypes of the bumbling idiot, and the nerdy, less athletic sidekick with a penchant for weak sarcasm and self-deprecation. Most of the jokes here work, though some invariably had to fall off from being too cheesy, but all in all, something that's still quite enjoyable especially if you're in a crappy mood, or just booked out from camp.

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