June 25, 2009

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Year One (PG-13)
And lo, God reached out His hand and from the dust He did createth the poop joke and He looked on it and saw that it was good in Year One, a hopelessly, winningly silly comedy about early man.

Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) are buddies, a hunter and gatherer (respectively) in their village of stick huts and grunting men. Zed’s a braggart, Oh’s a shrinking violet — neither is exactly eating first from the kill, social-status-wise. So Zed decides to snack on some fruit from the tree of knowledge and is banished from the tribe. Oh goes with him because it’s a buddy comedy and they meet Cain (David Cross) and, very briefly, Abel (Paul Rudd); a just-discovering-circumcision Abraham (Hank Azaria) and his not-so-thrilled son Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse nee McLovin’), and, once in Sodom (of “and Gomorrah” fame), a sketchy high priest (Oliver Platt) and a scheming princess (Olivia Wilde — Thirteen for all you House fans). They also regularly bump in to their respective crushes from the village — Eema (Juno Temple) for Oh and Maya (June Diane Raphael) for Zed.

So, poop, sight gags involving how Sodom got its name, Blackian bluster, Ceraesque mumbling, circumcision jokes, general sex humor, sight gags involving the amount of hair on Oliver Platt’s chest — ask a class of third-graders for their best potty humor jokes and I’ll bet you’d get at least one that was somehow in this movie. This isn’t subtle, dry, observational humor. This is “wacka wacka,” “ba-dum-DUM” humor with plenty of moments of “bwah-HA” and “ewww” and whatever noise I made during one of the poop scenes (sort of a laugh-gag thing, I’m guessing). I don’t remember a rubber chicken but there will probably be one in the DVD outtakes.

Add this all together and, yes, you get 100 minutes of stupid. But it’s good stupid. It might have you rolling your eyes but more often it will have you laughing. B-

Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, brief strong language and comic violence. Directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, Year One is an hour and 40 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by Sony Pictures.