Year One is the latest film by comedic legend Harold Ramis. The man still has the chops for humor, his writing skills are sharp as ever, but to be honest hasn't really directed anything hysterically funny since Groundhogs Day.
But when you have written so many masterpieces like Stripes, Caddyshack, Animal House and Ghostbusters, you don't have to make as big a wave in comedy with each film you work on. Resting on well earned laurels is acceptable.
This film has the potential right off the bat to be a laugh riot, but ended up being a nothing more than a mild public disturbance. The cast is well chosen with Jack Black and Michael Cera, and a few other well known character actors like Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, David Cross and the ever larger than life Vinnie Jones.
The cast is good, the jokes are passable and the premise was again, worth the making of the movie. The problem is in the dismount. The film starts out with the comedic odd couple as cavemen of sorts, bumbling their way through life in almost an ode to Mel Brook's History of the World style of events, that ends up witht the duo in a Babylonian-esque realm fighting for their lives.
Black and Cera are a great team, Jack with his maniac baffoonery and Michael with his dry whiny straightman persona. The pair launch their way through one light hearted disaster after another, suffering little or no real consequences , while trying to rescue their friends. A simple enough plot.
The problem occurs when the film just sort of ends with a Rocky IV kind of ending. Bad guys lose, and hero makes unrelated altruistic speech at the end. I blame Stallone! Not a laugh riot, but there are a few really funny gags sandwiched in between.
I would like to see Jack Black and Michael Cera work together in the future, I think their chemistry made this film more succesful than it really deserves to be! And I do love Harold Ramis' body of work, but the best I can say about "Year One" is you might get a laugh or two, when you rent this on DVD in six months!