WHAT IT'S ABOUT?
Year One centers on the exploits of two moronic early dudes, clumsy hunter Zed and deadpan and dopey Oh. After Zed is banished from his village for eating the wrong thing, Oh joins him on a journey over many miles of land and through the sands of time. They wind up in the biblical era (don't ask how if you want to continue enjoying this thing), where they meet the likes of Cain and Abel, become slaves and somehow wind up in forbidden Sodom. It's not EXACTLY the ''year one,'' but hey, who's counting?
WHO'S IN IT?
Jack Black is an obvious choice to play the Neanderthal idiot, Zed. He looks like he was born into the role, in fact, and offers up the appropriate belching and farting to make you believe he's a VERY primitive kind of guy. As his reluctant partner Oh, Michael Cera does not stray far from the screen persona he has been building since Juno, and even in caveman attire he still has the air of a confused high school nerd. His right-on deadpan delivery of his lines, though, is the one saving grace in this whole sorry enterprise. Casting this most contemporary of actors in the most period of pieces turns out to be inspired. As various biblical characters, David Cross, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), Vinnie Jones and especially Hank Azaria (as the prophet Abraham) do what is required to squeeze the humor out of a bad situation. Even an uncredited Paul Rudd turns up as the doomed Abel to help keep Year One afloat and is actually quite funny for the few minutes he's around.
Best idea was to put the nonplussed Cera into the movie. He's not an obvious choice for this sort of thing, and it's nice to see him out of his comfort zone. He gets genuine laughs an exceedingly rare occurrence in this concoction.
Director Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters, Stripes) certainly knows his way around outrageous comedy situations, but he doesn't seem to know what to do with this one. It's not enough to put a couple of funny comics in furs and cave attire without giving them funny lines. The fart jokes only go so far(t). Year One is so forgettable and lamentable that by the time the end credits roll, you just want to head straight to the exits and forget what you've just sat through for 97 minutes.
Pick anything from the trailer or the TV spots, because they contain the ONLY genuinely amusing bits in the picture.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Hmmmm, let's just say NEITHER.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 stars.