Director: Harold Ramis Release Date: 26/06/09 Link: Bear with me for just a minute here and close your eyes, let your mind go blank and try to imagine yourself walking into a theater to watch a movie directed and written by Harold Ramis. Now remember, this is the same comedic genius whose writing and directing credits include “Ghost-busters,” “Back to School,” “Stripes,” “Animal House,” “Groundhog Day,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and one of the best comedies of all time, the hysterical “Caddyshack.” While you’re at it, let’s say that same movie you are just about to see is produced by Judd Apatow, who has helped create some exceptionally hilarious movies himself, including “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Superbad,” “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” After taking all of this into consideration, you might be inclined to think this film I have been talking about has the potential to leave you chuckling so hard you will hardly be able to breathe. I don’t blame you either, because if you were to tell me the exact same scenario I just told you I would be expecting a highly amusing comedy that is nothing short of a laugh riot. But a laugh riot is the last description I would use for Ramis and Apatow’s “Year One,” which stars Jack Black and Michael Cera as two Neanderthals who set out on a journey of biblical proportions. Look, I thoroughly adore the majority of Ramis’ and Apatow’s work and I would even consider them legends of comedy, but it deeply pains me to say the duo should be tremendously embarrassed to be associated with “Year One,” which is about as funny as today’s high unemployment rate. I readily acknowledge some of the jokes went over my head because I have never read the Bible nor do I regularly attend church, but biblical humor is only a small part of “Year One” and the rest of the gags are so juvenile and lowbrow that it feels like they were written by a bunch of fourth-graders. (If watching someone eat fecal matter is your idea of comedy, then “Year One” will be right up your alley.) The film also doesn’t get much help from Black and Cera, and although they are hiding under wigs and loincloths, they basically play the same characters they have their entire careers. Black’s spastic style and Cera’s shy and sarcastic demeanor can work extremely well when they are given the right material, but in “Year One” it seems like they are trying too hard to compensate for the shoddy script, and that just ends up exacerbating everything that is wrong with the movie. (It’s not as though I didn’t laugh at all, but I doubt it happened more than 10 times.) You shouldn’t anticipate a deep, involving plot with a film like “Year One,” but the minimal one that is there follows Zed (Black) and Oh (Cera), a pair of lazy hunters and gatherers who are banished from their tribe when one of them nibbles on a forbidden piece of fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. With no other place to go, Zed and Oh embark on an expedition to Sodom, and along the way they meet up with siblings Cain and Abel (David Cross and Paul Rudd), a circumcision-crazed Abraham (Hank Azaria) and his son Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and an effeminate high priest (Oliver Platt) who likes to have oil rubbed on his hairy chest. (The side characters are by far the most disappointing aspect of “Year One.”) For yours truly, comedy is one of the toughest genres to critique because it’s pretty much impossible to describe why something succeeds or fails at being funny. We all have different senses of humor and I personally can’t tell you why I laugh at the things I do. (It’s kind of similar to explaining the complicated feelings of love.) However, the valuable information I can give you is that your ability to enjoy “Year One” will all hinge on whether or not you think any of the footage in its trailers is humorous. Those in the advertising department who are smart will omit a comedy’s funniest stuff from the previews because, after all, what’s the point of shelling out money for a ticket if you have already seen the best parts? With “Year One,” what you see in the trailers is what you are going to get, which is not very much. If you haven’t found yourself laughing during any of the commercials on television, then I assure you not a whole lot will change if you decide to swap your couch or recliner for a theater seat. Rating: 4/10