Saturday, February 6, 2010

Leap Year: A Review (Review #45)


Amy Adams' Ireland Vacation Videos...

During the romantic comedy Leap Year, the main character 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. A misstep for its star, Leap Year does not have anything to justify its existence.

Anna Brady (Amy Adams) 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. Expecting an engagement ring, Anna is disappointed to find that is not the case. This hits her especially hard given that they are about to move in together. Anna finds no solution to having Jeremy pop the question.

No problem, says her dad Jack (John Lithgow). The Irish have a tradition where on February 29, the woman can propose to the man in Dublin. As coincidence would have it, Jeremy is in Dublin for a medical conference. With that, she leaves her job as an apartment stager and bounces off to Eire. 

Anna for all her trouble is met by a variety of obstacles to get to Dublin in time, starting with a major storm that forces her to land in Wales and then sail to Ireland. 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).  Desperate to get to Jeremy by February 29, she hires Declan's taxi service to make a mad dash to Dublin; he agrees so that he could use the money Anna offers  to save his bar/inn. More hilarity and romances ensue.

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 is one plot contrivance after another plot contrivance that appear to exist only to stretch out both the premise and the film itself. The part about Leap Day being so close, Jeremy being in Dublin on Leap Day and the requisite big storm that keeps Amy (I mean Anna, it really does not matter) from landing in Dublin itself all takes place within Leap Year's first fifteen minutes if memory serves right.

If you haven't walked out of Leap Year 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. 

Throughout the whole of Leap Year, everyone looked so uncomfortable and unhappy to be there save for Lithgow, who is exactly one scene to get the plot rolling. His cameo was the most enjoyable element in Leap Year, probably because he was having a ball thinking about the check he was going to cash for this idiotic spectacle. 

Amy Adams has both talent and a sparkling, charming screen presence. Her two Oscar nominations as of this writing and such films as Enchanted and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian demonstrate as much. 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. He is a stock character: the boyfriend who is meant as an impediment to the real romance. He does not even bother acting as if this is remotely sensible. Like Lithgow, he takes the money, enjoys his Gaelic galivant and moves on.

As stated, 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 that Anna is in Ireland, why doesn't he drive down 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. I can suspend disbelief for something even as light and silly as Leap Year. I cannot suspend that Anna can be that stupid, let alone that Amy Adams would play a character that stupid.

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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