Posted by: Dr P | August 11, 2009

Year One

Right this moment I don’t much feel like laughing, but hey, let’s not let nasty folk drag this down shall we? This was an absolutely corking and immensely puerile romp with Jack Black and Michael Cera providing comedy gold from start to finish.

Very simple premise. Black and Cera are from a tribe of hunter-gatherers (Black apparently rubbish at both, Cera most definitely a gatherer), who survive by foraging and feasting in the forest. When Black’s character Zed makes a catalogue of mistakes on a hunt, he is banished from the tribe, and Cera, or rather “Oh”, follows him.

Having been told by the tribe elders that the world ends at the top of the nearest mountain, the chaps are thus slightly surprised to discover not only an immense world beyond, but one which seems to have developed slightly – indeed it’s the Middle East, with tribes of Hebrews and the like roaming the lands. They bump into Abraham (an inspired Hank Azaria), who is less of a leader figure than someone running round with scuissors trying to cut everyone’s private parts to pieces (oddly enough, something I have in common with him just about now). Having escaped from this lunatic, they then wind up in Sodom (yes the inevitable jokes are all there), where they are initially taken as slaves and then wind up in the military of all places.

Meanwhile the pair’s love interests from their old tribe have also been captured and turned into Sodomite slaves (yes, the jokes remain), and so the movie then turns into an elaborate series of capers designed to free the girls and save the day.

Added to the mayhem is the most delicious camp High Priest of Sodom, played by an inspired Oliver Platt. For me, Platt was wonderful as a tough lawyer in the West Wing, so to see him hear, thick chest hair being oiled up by a repulsed Cera is absolutely divine! He must have LOVED this role.

Obviously most of the film’s events are biblical in in spiration – Cane and Abel, the tree of knowledge, Abraham “One Two Three Foreskin!!!!!” But if you’re not religious, don’t let that put you off, nothing is sacred here!

If you park any decorum at the door, you’ll love this film. There were so many laugh out loud moments that had most folks in the cinema guffawing at various (and different) points. I particularly enjoyed the following …

“I want you to enter the holy of holies” (Zed’s love interest)
“That’s a coincidence, I want you to sit on the poly of polies” (Zed)

Utter genius.

The plot is inane, the gags daft, but I loved it. Cera in particular is brilliant in this film, and the cameo roles played by Azaria and Platt really do steal scenes. Highly recommended, and probably stupendous fun if you’ve had a few too many …

Memorable moments:

Zed: You could be my right-hand man.
Oh: I’ve seen what you do with your right hand. No, thank you

Oh: I’m a virgin by choice.
Zed: Ha. Not your choice!

Cain: [to his father Adam, while trying to flee on a slow-moving camel] Eat my dust, father!

[Zed has eaten an apple from the ‘Tree of Knowledge’]
Zed: I might know everything. Ask me something?
Oh: Where does the sun go at night?
Zed: Pass. Next question.
Oh: Where do babies come from?
Zed: Pass. Next question.
Oh: [noticing a snake] There’s a snake on my foot.
Zed: In the form of a question.
Oh: [scared] There’s a snake on my foot?
Zed: Correct!


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