Sometimes even the most promising films just don’t add up. When you add in Michael Cera, Jack Black, Harold Ramis, Paul Rudd and David Cross (amongst others) to a film’s cast, it should equal the most hilarious film of all time. Unfortunately, Year One fails to do so and in quite spectacular fashion.
Zed (Black) and Oh (Cera) are two prehistoric men in a small clan of hunter-gatherers. Zed is a hunter with no real talent for the position, Oh is a meek gatherer picked on for his slight frame. After several comedic “mishaps,” the adventure begins due to Zed’s restless nature and discovery of the forbidden fruit of knowledge. Zed eats the forbidden fruit and for that he is cast out into the wilderness while Oh is thrown out with him. What follows is a trek through elements of the Bible that tries really hard to be funny but fails almost every step of the way, culminating in a requisite happy ending & action sequence.
The problem comes with the execution, as the setup for many of the film’s gags are golden. Rudd and Cross as Cain and Abel? Not funny. Hank Azaria and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Abraham and Isaac? Not funny. Oliver Platt as the gay High Priest? Still not funny.
There are a handful of moments that will make the twelve-year-old boy deep inside you crack a smile, and you might even lightly chuckle ever now and then, but there really are no truly memorable laugh-out-loud moments in this film.
With the subject matter and cast Year One had the potential to be a really funny film, sadly it aims for the lowest common denominator and misses the mark by miles.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. Despite the movie not being good, it looks and sounds great.
Commentary with Harold Ramis, Jack Black and Michael Cera: Even these guys who normally provide funny commentary fail here as well. So sad.
Alternate Ending: Sodom’s Destruction: (8 min.) This is a way better ending with even a return of Abel, why they didn’t use this I have no idea.
Deleted Scenes: (4 min.) Two scenes cut for obvious reasons.
Extended/Alternate Scenes: (14 min.) These are ten of these. The stuff the cut out doesn’t really make the scenes any funnier. More stuff that was cut for a reason.
Line-O-Rama: (5 min.) This has got some pretty funny stuff in it, which is a nice change for this disc.
Gag Reel: (8 min.) This is pretty darn funny. Some pretty good laughs here.
Year One: The Journey Begins: (18 min.) Pretty typical making of where everyone talks about how great it was to work with everyone else.
Sodom’s Got ’em!: (2 min.) This is the most hilarious thing on the disc, as it’s a commercial to entice you to come live in Sodom.
Leeroy Jenkins: The Gates Of Sodom: (2 min.) I just didn’t understand the point of this. The Sodom guards attack the villagers and Mintz-Plasse hides in a basket. Huh?
Blu-ray Exclusive Features: These include BD-Live, Cinechat, The Year One Cutting Room where you can edit a scene of the film yourself and Movie IQ which provides up to date info about the film throughout.
I really wanted to like this film. I like all these actors and Ramis is responsible from some true classics. Sadly he couldn’t create another one here. At least most the special features were pretty funny. If you want to watch a Biblical comedy that will make you laugh, stick to Monty Python’s Life Of Brian.
Columbia Pictures presents Year One. Directed by Harold Ramis. Written by Harold Ramis, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg. Starring Jack Black, Michael Cera, David Cross, Paul Rudd and Oliver Platt. Running time: Theatrical Cut: 97 minutes. Unrated Cut: 100 minutes. Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, brief strong language and comic violence. Released on DVD: October 6, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Harold Ramis, Jack Black, Michael Cera