Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) are dumb, even for cavemen, in "Year One," a lowbrow, only fitfully amusing comedy about the misadventurers of two inept hunter-gatherers expelled from their primitive village after accidentally setting it on fire. Not as dumb, however, as this movie.
How dumb is dumb?
Paul Rudd, the enormously likable star of "I Love You, Man," gets killed off in the first 15 minutes. What's up with that? Making a cameo as the biblical Abel, Rudd's adorable face is bashed in by his brother Cain (David Cross) only seconds after our misfit heroes have met him. And for a moment there, I thought that this movie, from Judd Apatow's production company, might actually be going somewhere.
Zed and Oh soon find themselves traipsing through various Bible episodes, eventually winding up in Sodom, where the homophobic jokes fly fast and furious. It's as if the script (by director Harold Ramis, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg) had been written by someone with grasp of Bible history as tenuous as one of Jay Leno's "Jay Walking" All-Stars and with a sense of humor as evolved as that of a high school sophomore. Don't get me wrong. You will laugh, as long as you don't expect much more than a series of loosely connected sketches. But you'll also very likely groan in disgust just as often over jokes involving circumcision, urinating on one's own face, rubbing hot oil into a high priest's (Oliver Platt) hairy chest and -- ew -- coprophagy.
Look it up. And count yourself lucky that you only had to read about it.