Year One (2009)

(Crackle Streaming, May 2017) If Hollywood history has proven anything, it’s that nothing is safe from its vulgar lowbrow comic premises. Here, Year One uses prehistory as an excuse to let Jack Black and Michael Cera go wild with their usual comic persona, from cavemen to old-testament riffs. The anachronisms are the point of much of the humour, but the juvenile nature of most jokes doesn’t allow Year One to fly high. Still, what’s maybe most impressive about the film are the number of known actors willing to ham it up for such a vapid film: Whether you’re talking seasoned comedians like Paul Rudd, David Cross, Oliver Platt and Hank Azaria, or it-girls such as Olivia Wilde and Juno Temple, Year One is heavy in small cameo roles. This may give the impression that the film is better than it is, though, which isn’t the case. Depending on your reaction to Cera and Black’s screen persona, Year One either feels like a chore or a slog. (Black’s shtick is more overly offensive than Cera’s, but an entire film built on Cera tics would be unbearably dull.) Year One probably works best as one of those films you let play on background while doing other things. It’s not as if you’re going to miss anything crucial if you don’t happen to pay attention at every time, and it’s not as if you’re going to feel guilty about missing a few moments of the film if you have to leave the room for a while.

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