Wednesday, February 8, 2023

One Year Off: Movie Review

Overly dramatic, inconsistent nonsense.

We would all love to take a year off of our lives and go have a romantic fling on the island of Nevis, but for those of us who can’t do that, we would at least like to enjoy a movie about that. But no such luck. One Year Off is not enjoyable. The characters are so illogical, the plot (when the movie decides to have one) is nonsense, that looking at a beautiful beach for two hours just doesn’t cut it.   2023

Directed by: Philippe Martinez

Screenplay by: Stewart Thomson

Starring: Jeff Fahey, Nathalie Cox

The main characters are Claire (Nathalie Cox) a perpetually heartbroken woman who consistently picks the wrong men and is working at a club in London which hasn’t had good days since before the pandemic; Alex and Theo, are Claire’s friends in London, Alex is a musician and is loud, annoying, likes being center of attention and enjoys pissing people off and Theo is gay (and after watching the entire movie, that is the only character trait that can be applied to him); and Ben (Jeff Fahey) the owner of said club where all of the friends first met fifteen years ago. There’s also another friend who moved to the United States and married a younger, super annoying, high-pitched screaming girl, and apart from his wife, he’s as non-descript as Theo is.

Ben receives news that his biological father, who he never met and didn’t know about, passed away and left a resort in St. Kitts and Nevis to Ben. So Ben invites all his friends on an all expenses paid trip to Nevis. Nevis is gorgeous, of course they said yes.

The set-up works. But once in Nevis we meet the caretakers of the resort and the estate executor who act very strange for no discernible reason. With each passing scene, Ben makes the unknown dead father thing even more dramatic. The sickly score that accompanies all of his scenes and the melodrama become a bit too much. Ben also has a love interest introduced very early on with literally a slow-motion scene where he can’t take his eyes off her and everything around her disappears. That scene would work in a satire but not something taking itself this seriously.

Meanwhile Claire has decided that the island is so beautiful that they should stay for a full year and start a business. They can host weddings at the resort, and she assigns a job to each of them. The film glosses over details which normally don’t matter in such a movie, since we can assume Claire took care of such things like incorporating the business and getting insurance, etc. That wouldn’t matter until what appears to be a significant turning point in the movie when a wedding goes horribly wrong and they’re all going to be sued so insurance becomes important. And then that plot point is just completely dropped in favour of Claire’s romance, which occurs very similarly to Ben’s.

The story is nonsense since significant plot points are introduced and then dropped, characters who get mad and storm off but then magically reappear. The movie keeps telling us that the island is magic, but it is not magical enough to put a coherent movie together. The romance angle is terrible since there is no development to the relationships. They just fall in love and that’s it. A movie with pretty beaches actually needs more than just pretty beaches.