Story

Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) live in a primitive hunter-gatherer community in which neither excels. Zed is in love with Maya (June Diane Raphael), who wants a big strong man who can protect and provide for her. This is someone who is the exact opposite of Zed. Oh is desperately in love with Eema (Juno Temple), who barely seems to notice his existence. When Zed eats the forbidden fruit, he is cast out of the village. Oh joins him on an adventure to see the world and begin a new community. Instead they stumble upon Cain (David Cross) and Abel (Paul Rudd), who are fighting in a field. After Cain murders Abel, Zed and Oh find themselves at the mercy of a mad man who will do whatever it takes to save himself, including selling Zed and Oh as slaves.

Zed and Oh see Maya and Eema again in a slave market. The women have been captured by a neighbouring tribe and have also been sold as slaves. Zed promises that he will find a way to free them all. When their caravan is attacked by soldiers, Zed and Oh escape into the desert. While trying to follow the caravan, they find themselves in a Hebrew village as guests of Abraham (Hank Azaria). Abraham is obsessed with circumcising his son Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and any other males he can find.

Zed and Oh make a quick getaway, heading straight to the sinful city of Sodom and further adventures.

Themes

Incest; slavery; parodies of biblical characters

Violence

This movie contains some violence. For example:

  • Zed accidentally shoots another hunter with a spear.
  • The head hunter breaks Zed’s spear and puts him in a head-lock.
  • Oh whacks Eema on the head with a large stick. She hits him back.
  • The head hunter chases Zed through the forest screaming, ‘I will gut you alive!’
  • Oh is attacked by a cougar.
  • We are told that Maya’s parents are attacked and killed by wild dogs. Zed makes a joke out of it.
  • Zed attempts to kill a yak, but is bucked off after his arrows fail.
  • Cain and Abel fight. They punch each other in the face and then wrestle each other to the ground.
  • Cain smashes Abel’s head with a rock until he is dead.
  • Cain is hit by lightening. The impact leaves a smoking hole and red scar on his forehead.
  • The slave caravan is attacked by soldiers. Men are killed with arrows and swords. In the fighting one man is decapitated and another has his neck broken.
  • Zed is punched by a soldier and Oh’s nipples are squeezed until he screams.
  • Zed and Oh join the Sodom army. They are told that if they catch anyone stealing they must chop off a finger or a nose.
  • Zed and Oh are whipped.
  • People are crushed by falling scaffolding.
  • In a fight scene Maya is punched in the stomach. People are hit and kicked in the face. Oh knocks a man unconscious with a shield.
  • Oh tells Isaac to get away from Eema or he will kill him where he stands.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:

  • Zed is cast out of the community by a witch doctor with a blackened, scarily painted face, wild hair and tusks. The image is likely to frighten small children.
  • The King of Sodom sacrifices virgins in a fire that comes out of the mouth of a giant wild boar. The image and the fire that roars out of it could be disturbing to young viewers.
  • Abraham has tied Isaac by the wrists. He is about to sacrifice his son to the gods with a large dagger when Zed and Oh interrupt him.

From 8-13

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

This movie contains many crude sexual references. Examples include references to male and female genitalia, heterosexual and homosexual intercourse, incest and male circumcision.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie contains some use of substances. For example:

  • The people who live in Sodom drink a lot.
  • The virgins are given a special drink before they are thrown into a sacrificial fire. They are told that they won’t feel a thing. Maya licks the goblet after drinking every drop and walks towards the temple as if she is happily drunk.

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Zed does a sexy, pelvic-thrusting dance for Maya. He asks, ‘Can you say no to this?’
  • The cave people wear skimpy costumes that expose their torsos, thighs and cleavage.
  • Women passionately kiss each other in the streets of Sodom.
  • Maya and Zed kiss passionately with open mouths. Zed says that he is thinking of adding the tongue. They promise to work on it. Later he is seen exploring her face with his tongue, even poking it up her nose.
  • Eema rubs the spear of a hunter in a very provocative way.
  • Oh shares a bed with a man who likes to ‘multiply with sheep’.
  • Zed dangles his loincloth over his head and sucks its tip as he gets into bed with Cain’s sister.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

This movie contains some mild to medium-level coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Year One is a crude and silly comedy. It might appeal to older adolescents and fans of Jack Black.

The main messages from this movie are that you have choices in life. Through your choices and actions you make your own destiny.

Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with older children include:

  • optimism and persistence
  • the quest for knowledge and wisdom.