Year One Movie Review

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A sandals ‘n sleaze biblical romp where the humor is so infantile that the movie title could be misread as referring to the mental age of the writers, the comically redundant Year One essentially sticks two contemporary characters in ancient times to anachronistically fend for themselves without a clue. And those occasionally inspired prehistorically relocated one-liners soon wear as thin as a weathered Paleolithic loincloth.

Banished from their village and setting out on foot in search of the end of the world are Michael Cera as Oh and Zed (Jack Black), his raunchy other half. Cera does a pubescent Woody Allen imitation, while Black’s greatest idiot in the village gross-out routine is just plain gross. Cera’s Oh endlessly frets about dying a virgin, while overly flirty heathen Zed attempts to hunt and gather copious hairy bodied babes who really know how to stroke their spears.

After munching on a magic apple from The Tree Of Forbidden Knowledge that bestows upon Zed the moronic messiah superpower of seeing ten minutes into the future, the pair enter a more advanced hamlet where they discover the wheel. But they are soon forced to flee the hostile inhabitants, during a slow motion oxen cart chase.

Eventually the misunderstood nitwits gone native go slumming around Sodom, become bought and sold sex slaves, and encounter surprise circumcisions, virgins tossed into fires, horny eunuchs, and premature feminists and lesbians. With the comical high point presenting itself, when Cera is hung upside down in a prison and resigns himself to peeing through his collar. Fortunately for all, what happens in Sodom stays in Sodom.

Directed by Harold Ramis (Caddyshack, Groundhog Day) and co-written by Ramis in league with Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (NBC’s The Office), this barbarian buddy bonding sex spree is not helped at all with Black and Cera in underwhelming mode and lackluster delivery. Coupled with overly long biblical skits encumbered by modern lingo, that never quite blends in.

It’s entirely possible that even this review may actually be funnier than the movie, no exaggeration.

Sony Pictures

Rated PG-13

2 stars

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.