Year One

Year: 2009
Production Co: Apatow Pictures
Studio: Columbia
Director: Harold Ramis
Producer: Judd Apatow
Writer: Harold Ramis/Gene Stupnitsky/Lee Eisenberg
Cast: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Oliver Platt, David Cross, Hank Azaria, Vinnie Jones, Paul Rudd, Gia Carides, Olivia Wilde

What could have been a moronic, unfunny teen-style comedy with a single joke and no legs has been one of the best comedies of the year (if laughs per minute is your criteria, at least - don't expect anything highbrow).

The reason isn't the script, it's not even the assured direction of Harold Ramis. It's the casting of Jack Black and Michael Cera, two actors with very distinctive personalities that suit the roles perfectly. It's quite possible this was a much smaller scale, much stupider film and rewrites to suit the leading men saved it, but every laugh is from Black's good natured but overconfident buffoon with no idea of his own incompetence and Cera's childlike Woody Allen, tied up with neuroses and self-doubt.

When two loser cavemen are laughed at, ignored by girls and picked on by the bully hunters one time too many, they decide to leave and explore the world. Finding their way out of the forests, they get embroiled in historical epochs from the birth of Judaism to the Roman Empire. From their innocent point of view, the movie is also quite prepared to poke fun at some sacred cows such as the Roman practice of sacrifice and the Hebrew tradition of circumcision (featuring a slightly unhinged biblical Isaac, played by Hank Azaria, who's unhealthily obsessed with it).

The story's nothing special, the other characters just filler. It's Black and Cera's show all the way, and you're in assured comic hands.

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