Saturday, February 6, 2010

Leap Year: A Review (Review #45)


Amy Adams' Ireland Vacation Videos...

During the romantic comedy Leap Year, Anna Brady (Amy Adams) declares twice that she doesn't believe in superstitions. However, she does apparently believe in at least ONE superstition, otherwise you wouldn't have a movie. Judging from the film itself, she also believes that women are needy and desperate to get married to men who are clueless or callous (or both) about how they keep them waiting without giving any indication that they will ever get around to proposing.

Anna has been dating Jeremy (Adam Scott) for four years now, and she's just heard that he's gone into a jewelry store, coming out with a small box. Here's a spoiler: it's NOT a wedding ring. She understandably is disappointed, especially since they are about to move in together. No problem, says her dad (John Lithgow, in film history's biggest billing for a cameo). The Irish have a tradition where on Leap Day the woman can propose to the man in Dublin. As coincidence would have it, Jeremy's IN Dublin for a medical conference. What ARE the odds? With that, she leaves her job as a person who stages apartments to appear as if they are lived in and bounces off to Eire. Hilarity ensues.

What should ensue is a walk to the exit. Leap Year is not imaginative or clever or fun. What it is really is quite puzzling and almost sad. It's one plot contrivance after another plot contrivance that appear to exist only to stretch out both the premise and the film itself. That bit about Leap Day being so close, about Jeremy being in Dublin on Leap Day, the requisite big storm that keeps Amy (I mean Anna) from landing in Dublin itself...and that's all within the first fifteen minutes I think.

I'm going to digress to question a point of logic in Leap Year (I'm big on plots making sense, even in the world a film takes place in). You have a big storm that prevents Anna's arrival in Ireland proper, so they're diverted to Wales. When I heard that, I got confused. Isn't Wales to the WEST of Ireland? Wouldn't that be like a plane going from San Francisco to Denver being diverted to New York City? Just wondering if anyone can figure that one out for me. Granted, I know nothing of proper flight patterns, but there it is. Back to the review.

Once she FINALLY makes it her ancestral homeland, she meets the requisite colorful Irish characters that were holdovers from The Quiet Man as well as innkeeper/bar owner Declan (Matthew Goode, making his second appearance in a reviewed film after A Serious Man). As I'm sure the Ireland Tourism Department has in its brochures, visitors have no real means of getting out of quaint Irish villages and to its capital. As it happens, Declan runs the only taxi...and as it happens, he could use the money Anna offers for to get her to Dublin by February 29 to save his bar/inn. More hilarity ensues.
If you haven't walked out by now, you are either being held by force or are asleep. On this jolly jaunt through the lush Irish countryside, we have cows blocking the road, missed trains, stolen luggage, a force sharing of rooms, and character exposition at a wedding Anna and Declan have managed to crash for no real reason except to have character exposition and good Irish music--as well as a gratuitous attack on the bride. Horrible. In any case, they finally make Dublin but wouldn't you know it, Declan and Anna find out that they...why bother? You should know, and if you can't figure it out I suggest you refrain from voting because the future of our country is too important to be left to people who have no perception of the obvious.

Throughout the whole movie, everyone looked so uncomfortable and unhappy to be in Leap Year. Amy Adams has talent (two Oscar nominations) and a sparkling, charming screen presence (Enchanted and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian). Yet here, she seemed curiously detached from the film, as if she knew she was going through the motions and just enjoyed the time in a beautiful country such as Ireland. Goode, who is British, managed to find an Irish accent, but he also is another person who is frankly too talented to be in something this frightful. Both their characters come off badly: she appears totally dumb and he downright cruel.

Adam Scott has a face of someone I wouldn't trust, so he appears to be perfect for Jeremy, a man so sleazy and heartless in his approach to Anna one wonders why ANY woman, let alone our heroine, would want to be near him, let alone marry him. John Lithgow had fun, but that was because he knew he was going to be on screen for about five minutes and just to serve as plot device so he could just roll with it and not worry about how everyone else would fare out.

Here's another point of logic. In all her travails in travelling to Dublin proper, I kept thinking, "If Jeremy KNOWS she's in Ireland, why doesn't he come down himself to rescue her? He could skip a seminar or two for the woman he loves. Why doesn't he send someone to pick her up and take her to Dublin? At the very, very least, SEND HER MONEY AND TRAIN TICKETS!" To quote Chandler Bing's speech pattern, could he BE any more sleazy and uncaring? Could she BE any more stupid and clueless?

Let me sum up my feelings about Leap Year this way: at a certain point, when both our leads are near a cliff, part of me was desperate to yell, "JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!"


  1. Hey Rick,

    It's a chick flick; ie, sheer escape, which I might suggest you do next time you're invited to such a genre?

    My enlightened hubby and I thought it was great for its actors, music, and photography and simplicity of a land we can't wait to re-visit.

    Thanks though, for the big smile.

    1. Sure, Ireland's beautiful.

      The movie, though, was horrible.

      Congrats on having an enlightened husband.


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