Like most comedies without a weighty script (ie, a script written by three people), Year One must rely on a cavalcade of cameos to carry it through. Don't get me wrong, Michael Cera is quite fine and even gets in some of the film's most memorable ad libs (while pondering why one of the female "gatherers" seems to fancy only "hunters", he concludes, "she's must be a self-loathing gatherer"), but when you're leaning on Xander Berkely, Oliver Platt, and the untalented member of Tenacious D to get you through dry patches, you're just in a bad spot. Even the typically sure thing scene-stealers of David Cross and Paul Rudd are a bore here, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse really needs to let go of the McLovin thing already.
Fans of the Old Testament may get some kicks from the second half of the film where Zed (Black) and Oh (Cera) make their way to Sodom and Gomorrah after escaping a circumcision ritual at the hands of Isaac (Hank Azaria), and deep down sicko perverts - like me - shall be shocked to see the film makers get away with a rimming and fisting joke that surely must have gone over the heads of censors who ended up granting Year One that crucial PG-13 rating. And yes, because head screenwriter Harold Ramis is an old man, his attempts at new school crude humor come off as desperate and/or clueless. Meaning, his sodomy jokes and homo barbs are tired and more juvenile than even his Animal House beginnings.
While watching Year One unravel, I couldn't help but think back to that scene in Knocked-Up where Seth Rogen has some "advice coffee" with his movie dad Harold Ramis. I'm sure the comedy veteran is honored that a younger generation holds him in such high regard, but why does he then feel the need to pander to their crowd with an attempt at their humor? It's like seeing Morgan Freeman with an earring or Robert Redford at a Kings of Leon concert. Let's get back to that Paul Newman-school of aging gracefully fellas, ok? I mean, is it far-reaching to wonder whether Mr. Carradine passed away from his risky sexscapades because he couldn't accept the fact that he had a 73 year old body?? It's true, these examples fall in line with the premise of modern man still being led around by the tips of their penises, but I'd bet that even their caveman ancestors knew when it was time to let the younger dudes do most of the clubbing.