"“Presented as being an anti-rom-com of sorts, yet it's taken all of the conventionalities of the genre and uses them shamelessly...”"

Last year, us faithful filmgoers had to put up with a handful of terrible British films about weddings and marriage. From the offensively unfunny The Knot, to the disastrous A Few Best Men, not to mention The Decoy Bride or even (the somewhat slightly better) The Wedding Video. So, fingers crossed we'll get off to a better start in 2013, eh? Or perhaps not, as Dan Mazer's directorial debut I Give It a Year continues this calamitous trend.

To begin with, it appears nothing can go wrong for lovebirds Josh (Rafe Spall) and Nat (Rose Byrne), and following a triumphant wedding day, best man's (Stephen Merchant) speech aside, a prosperous life together awaits. Cut to nine months on, and the pair find themselves talking to a marriage counsellor (Olivia Colman), as it seems not everything has gone quite as planned, as Josh's layabout lifestyle as an author conflicts against Nat's demanding and diligent line of work. The pair then find themselves attracted to people more suited to their lifestyles and personalities, as Josh spends time with his ex Chloe (Anna Faris), while Nat starts falling for her charming American colleague Guy (Simon Baker), causing the couple to make a decision on whether life will be better with one another, or without.

It's a real shame that I Give It a Year fails to live up to expectations, as much had been anticipated of this project, coming from the intelligent and creative mind of Mazer, whose previous writing credits include Borat, Bruno and Ali G in da USAiii. However his first move into directing is terribly generic and devoid of the ingenuity and innovation that exists within his work alongside Sacha Baron Cohen. The picture is presented as being an anti-rom-com of sorts, yet it's taken all of the conventionalities of the genre and uses them shamelessly. Even the entire premise is lacking in originality, covering too much of a familiar territory and featuring a series of second-hand, predictable jokes about weddings and the difficulties of married life that we've heard all too often.

I Give It a Year is also an evident attempt at appealing to a worldwide market, bearing too much of  a conscious effort to target an American audience. Yet by intentionally doing so, it takes away the naturalism of the piece – which is essential given it's supposed to be a film that, although surrealistic in parts, should be relatable and applicable to anyone in a long term relationship. There are needless aerial shots of London and of course the stereotypical “other guy” American character, implemented for marketing purposes no doubt. At one point a character says, “This is like a Hugh Grant movie”. Yes, sadly it is.

There is little wrong with the performances however, as Spall – effectively playing himself – does a good job, as someone who is naturally likeable and has an amicable on-screen presence. Merchant also appears to just be playing himself, and although funny in parts, it's a brand of comedy that has become tiresome and bears little place in contemporary cinema. The overdone, naïve but caustic style of comedy made famous by Ricky Gervais is becoming tedious. Meanwhile, while this rant is in full flow, the music is terrible, with a series of toe-curling, twee cover versions of decent Coldplay and Crowded House numbers. Like the painful sort you hear in car advertisements.

However the one saving grace – and it is quite important – is that this film does make you laugh on occasion, providing a handful of moments that certainly provoke a chuckle or two – such as when Nat continuously, and unintentionally, sings the wrong lyrics to famous pop songs. Thanks to such moments this is a film worth catching on telly, yet regrettably there is nothing new or original enough about this to warrant a trip to your local cinema.