LEAP YEAR, 2010
Anna (Adams) has spent four years with her boyfriend, Jeremy (Scott), without a wedding proposal. During his business trip to Dublin, Anna opts to act on Leap Day, an Irish tradition that encourages women to propose to men on the date February 29th. A re-routed plane trip, however, lands her at the door of a Welsh innkeeper (Goode), who might offer a diversion of his own.
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Romantic comedies can be hard to pull off especially if there is an uneven balance between the romance and comedy, and unfortunately Leap Year is a victim of such a problem. Well that, and the rather thin plot. There’s nothing new about Leap Year that draws you in and while the Irish legend and scenery can provide for an exciting backdrop, that’s really where the novelty ends. Amy Adams is charming as usual and there is chemistry between her and Mathew Goode which at times can be engaging to watch, but at the end of the day is simply not enough.
Anna (Adams) plans on proposing to her boyfriend (Scott) on the 29th as part of the tradition of Irish women who propose to their significant other on that particular day. It’s implied that only on this day are women allowed to propose to their men, and why someone as smart as Anna would take that seriously in a movie in of itself. She’s told this information by her father played by John Lithgow, who has a brief appearance although he does a nice job and clearly has fun with the role.
The legend does provide a motive for Anna to fly off to Dublin to surprise her boyfriend with marriage, which is always a good idea. But once there her journey proves more troublesome than expected and soon she finds herself struggling to not only reach her destination, but whether or not she can actually go through with it. Why she decides to ponder this notion after already reaching Dublin is beyond me.
Her conflict comes from the crude chaperone played by Goode who challenges her notions of marriage while the two contend with several mishaps along their pilgrimage. The two banter back and forth occasionally dishing out witty one liners, but the slapstick humor overwhelms their comedic scenes taking away some of the subtly of their performances. Trust me, less is more and there’s nothing less about watching a car roll down a hill or watching Amy Adams battle the rough Irish climate, it’s just not funny. In case you were wondering, the two eventually fall in love and now Anna must decide between her current beau and her new fling. Guess you’ll have to pay to find out, or watch every other romantic comedy to get your answer. Pick your poison.
For some reason when it comes to romantic comedies it almost seems like a requirement to include every cliché in the book. Films such as “New in Town,” “Did you hear about the Morgans” and “Music and Lyrics” are drenched in the over used comedy tricks and romantic moments that are nothing short of cheesy. “Shop Girl” which was directed by Anand Tucker was a romantic comedy that was a little more tailored towards dramatic moments but with enough of the two genres to provided sufficient entertainment without bordering on the overly used gimmicks.
“Shop Girl” wasn’t great, but it was still a satisfying film for what it was trying to accomplish and in comparison to Leap Year, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a masterpiece. Adams and Goode work overtime in trying to make this as charming as they possibly can. They have a few nice moments that hint at something better, which feels more like a tease at the potential the film could have achieved if done with a little more originality.
The female demographic is the target audience as they are likely to drag their hapless boyfriends into the theater. But they too may find this film trite; then again, if that was the case films such as these would cease production and that not likely to happen. No, I suspect that those who enjoyed the films that I mentioned earlier will likely enjoy Leap Year. Adams is honestly the only redeeming part of the film along with Goode but that’s not saying much since there really wasn’t much to work with. Well, maybe the next romantic comedy that comes out, which will be soon so don’t worry (or worry), will get it right.