YEAR ONE (2009). Biblical times were milked for raunchy but riotous laughs in Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I and Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but the well seems to have run dry when it comes to this disastrous comedy that’s the cinematic equivalent of an old-fashioned flogging. Jack Black and Michael Cera, never straying more than a centimeter from their established screen personas (misguided blowhard and sarcastic wimp, respectively), star as Zed and Oh, tribal misfits banished from their village and left to wander the land. Like ancient Forrest Gumps, they run into a few historical figures — Cain (David Cross) and Abel (Paul Rudd), Abraham (Hank Azaria) and Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) — although they spend most of their time in the city of Sodom, with Zed laboring under the impression that he’s God’s Chosen One while Oh tries to keep his distance from a fey priest (Oliver Platt, in a guilty pleasure of a performance) with a penchant for having his hairy chest rubbed with oil. Even with gags involving the eating of feces and the drinking of urine (to say nothing about jokes related to vomit, incest, bestiality, and more), this is far too witless to even be considered distasteful or disturbing — it’s more like watching with pity as a dorky fifth-grader tries to shock adults with a string of profanity. As if the material wasn’t rancid enough, the picture appears to have been edited with a battle-ax, as continuity is frequently nonexistent (what happened to the snake choking the life out of Oh?). I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t admit that a couple of moments made me smile. A couple. As in two. If that’s enough merriment to fill your belly, then by all means, knock yourself out.
DVD extras include audio commentary by Black, Cera and director Harold Ramis; an 18-minute making-of piece; two deleted scenes (one simply titled “Splooge”); 10 extended or alternate scenes; and a gag reel.