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Harold Ramis's THE YEAR ONE Screens Again!

Beaks here...

Is Harold Ramis's Old Testament comedy THE YEAR ONE (starring Jack Black and Michael Cera, produced by Judd Apatow) up to the bible-spoofing gold standard of MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN? Or is it another WHOLLY MOSES? Last June, the one-person consensus was "it's funny, but kinda falls apart in the third act". Fortunately for Ramis, he's had plenty of time for reshoots and editing. So where do things stand over six months later? Let's check in with Red Redding...
Red Redding here with a review of The Year One Starring Jack Black & Michael Cera and directed by Harold Ramis. The Screening was in Thousand Oaks, California. According to IMDB this movie is coming out on June 19. This appears to be the final cut (or close to it) because the movie was about 1 hour and 40 minutes long plus outtakes/credits. This movie has a much wider appeal than normal Apatow movies because this is going to be rated PG-13 because there were no F bombs or really bad swearing at all, which is refreshing. The movie starts off with the hilarious introductions of Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) being hunters and gatherers in their village. Jack Black eats the forbidden fruit and is banished/chased out of the village with Oh coming along for the journey. On their adventures they meet Cain and Able, Abraham and Isaac, and the lovely people of Sodom. The main drive for the characters is their respective love interests who they keep trying to free from slavery as they travel from place to place. Now that we have that out of the way, lets get to the point: was the movie funny? You are God damn right it was (sorry for the blasphemy, but how could I resist?). Whoever thought of pairing Jack Black and Michael Cera together is a genius. They play off of each other extremely well and it doesn’t feel like just another “Apatow comedy” (which would have been fine by me). Jack Black and Michael Cera are so damn good at what they do that there are tons of laughs to be had. The supporting cast is pretty funny as well, with the biggest part coming from Cain (David Cross). He is very funny most of the time, but sometimes it seems as he if he is trying a bit too hard. There are a bunch of familiar faces (try and figure out who Bill Hader plays) and most of them take advantage of the limited screen time that they are given (Oliver Platt is awesomely disgusting as the High Priest). As far as acts go, the first act is definitely the best, followed closely by the second. As in most comedies, the third act drags a bit as the “story” comes to its conclusion, but it is still damn funny. There really is no story to this movie other than them just trying to save their “girlfriends” and figure out the new world that they are living in. There are a few negatives, but really I am just nitpicking. Like I said before, there really isn’t a story, which normally would be bad, but it doesn’t detract here. Also, there are some really funny actors that have nothing to do in this movie and are just kind of there (Horatio Sanz is present throughout the entire movie and doesn’t say a single word; Paul Rudd has a bit part, but it feels like he is just there). One of my friends I saw it with actually complained that it was too short, which very well could be true if they have more funny material. I realize I am being very vague, but I really don’t want to ruin any of the jokes because they are much funnier if you don’t see them coming (like Michael Cera as a statue). My friend and I both put very good on our questionnaire and I rate it about an 8.5/10. To put it in perspective, I thought Forgetting Sarah Marshall was the funniest movie of last year and this is right up there with that.

It's worth noting that Ramis cowrote the script for THE YEAR ONE with THE OFFICE's Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. This should be pretty smart stuff.

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