I Give It a Year

  • Review Date: August 17, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2013

Common Sense Media says

Limp romcom has bickering couple, dreary image of marriage.
  • Review Date: August 17, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2013

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Marriage is hard work, and couples need to be committed both to each other and to the reality that staying together is a choice. The film makes it clear that sticking together long after the honeymoon is over can be tough -- though it doesn't do much to show that there are also benefits from long-term relationships.

Positive role models

Nat and Josh leap into marriage after a whirlwind romance and slowly start to realize what it actually means to be with a partner forever. They love each other, but they're gradually falling out of love, and they make the mature decision to focus on the immediate goal of making it to their first anniversary. Still, they're also keeping their options open, since both are also flirting with other people, and it's not clear whether they're truly committed to the relationship.

Violence

Some bitter arguments.

Sex

Plenty of sexual innuendo, and one sequence of quite explicit photographs of a couple having sex, including a close-up of a penis. Women are sometimes seen in their underwear. A woman finds herself involved in a threesome, though the scene is more comical than erotic, and all the participants remain clothed. Some flirtatious banter between a married woman and a single man who's trying to seduce her. 

Language

Occasional profanity includes "f--k," "s--t," "crap" and a very unusual game of charades featuring a long stream of increasingly crass synonyms for "vagina."

Consumerism

One character has a large Mac computer on her desk, visible in multiple scenes. Some people have iPhones.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking at parties, weddings, and meals. Adult characters sometimes get drunk and act silly.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that I Give It a Year examines the realities of marriage, as newlyweds Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) discover all the little things about each other that drive them nuts. They bicker and then reconcile, but they're soon questioning whether they were too hasty in their rush to the altar -- a plotline that may not have that much built-in appeal for teens. Several scenes have flirting and sexual innuendo, and there's a series of explicit homemade sex photos (including one that's a close-up of a penis). Expect social drinking by adults, sometimes to excess, and some swearing ("f--k," "s--t," etc.).

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What's the story?

Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) meet cute, quickly fall hard for each other, and, seven months later, head for the altar. "I give it a year," says a good friend, and it's not long before the love-addled couple is bickering over the smallest of irritations and wondering why they ever thought a wedding was a good idea. It doesn't help that Nat is being pursued by a charming client (Simon Baker), while Josh is starting to spend time with his ex-girlfriend (Anna Faris). The couple sets up a simple goal: make it to their first anniversary. But it's unclear whether they'll actually get that far -- or, if they do, what will happen after that.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

I GIVE IT A YEAR paints a distressing picture of marriage. Nat and Josh bicker about small things amid frequent exasperated eye-rolling and snide remarks. Their friends are a Greek chorus describing the horrors of long-term relationships, and even their therapist advises them to throw in the towel. All that would be fine if it was told in an illuminating manner. But while viewers may appreciate the irreverence -- there are some jokes that are so true that they shoot like a dart right to the center of the board, eliciting big laughs -- the truth is that we don't get much real insight.

Why should Nat and Josh try to make it work? We don't really know, since we catch barely a glimpse of why they might care for each other. Their couplehood is a thinly drawn image teeming with negativity. She's cold; he's an unmotivated doofus. And they were never meant to be together, or so it seems. So why should the audience root for them to make it at all? Then there's Josh's ex-girlfriend and Nat's handsome client. Are they the couple's real soul mates? Or would divorce be a betrayal of the spirit of all romcoms? Do we care? With its schizophrenic tone and flimsy plot, I GIVE IT A YEAR feels as fragile as the marriage at its center. Strong performances unfortunately don't rescue it from a not-so-happily-ever-after.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the filmmakers depict marriage. Is it positively or negatively? What do the supporting characters tell us about long-term relationships?

  • Do you think Nat and Josh belong together? Why do they bicker? Should they fight harder for their relationship?

  • What role does sex play in the story? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 9, 2013
DVD release date:October 22, 2013
Cast:Anna Faris, Rafe Spall, Rose Byrne, Simon Baker
Director:Dan Mazer
Studio:Magnolia Pictures
Genre:Romance
Run time:97 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual content, language and some graphic nudity

This review of I Give It a Year was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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