Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Oliver Platt, David Cross, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Vinnie Jones, Hank Azaria, Juno Temple, Olivia Wilde, June Diane Raphael, Xander Berkeley, Gia Carides, Horatio Sanz, David Pasquesi, Matthew Willig, Harold Ramis, Rhoda Griffis, Gabriel Sunday, Eden Riegel, Kyle Gass, Bill Hader, Marshall Manesh, Paul Rudd
Written by: Harold Ramis, Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg, based on a story by Harold Ramis
Directed by: Harold Ramis
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, brief strong language and comic violence
Running Time: 97
Date: 06/18/2009

Year One (2009)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Sodom Feeders

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In Harold Ramis' new Year One, Jack Black stars as Zed, an inept hunter in a primitive tribe of hunter-gatherers. His best friend is Oh (Michael Cera), a gatherer who forever endures jokes about his girlishness. When Zed eats from the tree of forbidden fruit, he is forced to leave and Oh tags along. (Subsequently, Zed believes he has been "chosen.") On their first stop, they meet arguing brothers Cain (David Cross) and Abel (Paul Rudd), and watch slack-jawed as Cain bludgeons his brother to death. Now more or less fugitives, they continue on, becoming slaves, escaping, meeting Abraham and stopping him from sacrificing his son, and finally venturing into the sin-ridden city of Sodom to rescue their girls.

Of Ramis' comedy classics (Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Analyze This, etc.) Year One comes closer to the spirit of his directorial debut Caddyshack (1980). It's not quite as funny or as brilliant, but it's in the same spirit. It cares thankfully little about its plot or its character arcs, or historical accuracy; it's a bit flabby and careless, but it's also gleefully stupid, and it has the ability to knock you off guard and make you giggle helplessly.

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