Leap Year (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
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Leap Year (2010)

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Andrew DISLIKERomantic comedies suffer from a Disneyfication of the passions that its participants are supposed to enact.  Sweating, heaving, thrusting; all of these things are not allowed inside their hallowed framing space.  There are a few notable exceptions, but one of the more recent entrants, Leap Year, does little to nothing to change the formula.  Which is a shame, because with the cast on had there could have been something worth salvaging in this pristine mess.

Amy Adams is one of the unfortunate victims.  She lends her considerable amount of charm to Leap Year and it turns out to be a complete waste.  Her destined lover is played by Matthew Good with just the right amount of permanent five o’clock shadow to make him seem outlawish, yet irresistibly handsome.  The two of them pair up as Anna Brady and Declan who, through one of those strange quirks of fate that seem destined to unite clean with rugged, are traveling together through the Irish countryside to unite Anna with her longtime boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott).

You see, there’s an old tradition in Anna’s family that if a young woman decides to ask her loved one to marry her on February 29th, their marriage will be blessed with the best of luck for all time.  This is a legend that Leap Year does not let you soon forget.  John Lithgow shows up as Anna’s father to relay this tale while giving us the false hope that he’ll stick around to liven up the surroundings.  He doesn’t, but what does stick is his story.  See, Anna’s been waiting for Jeremy to pop the question for some time, and this idea doesn’t leave her head.  So we are reminded of the legend seven times within the first half hour of the movie.

The bluntest approach on this is in the scene immediately following Lithgow’s departure when we see Anna alone at her computer, thinking through the events of the day, and her father’s voice wafts onto the soundtrack to repeat every single line he has in his only scene.  This is the kind of film that doesn’t trust it’s audience to remember information presented thirty seconds ago.

So Anna heads off to Ireland, where Jeremy is on a business trip, and after some turbulence ends up in a small town where she meets Declan, a local bar owner.  After another series of contrivances (and a quick sleep over in a room designed by The Rube Goldberg School of Unfriendly Design), Declan and Anna are off to Dublin where she will propose to her boyfriend.

The movie tries to derive what little bit of tension it can from the chemistry our leads are supposed to have, but doesn’t really generate so much as a candle flame.  Amy Adams can be an incredibly charming actress but is really phoning it in here.  Most of her lines are delivered at a volume that’s dangling precariously over a whisper, and is devoid of any strong expressions throughout the film.  Matthew Good doesn’t fare much better.  His primary function in the story is to drive, occasionally make fun of her, and offer homespun tales of romance and wisdom to show Anna the error of her romantic ways.

Will Anna and Declan connect?  What about Jeremy, will he overcome Declan’s rugged charms and show Anna that even corporate boyfriends can prove their feelings too?  Will Anna’s hair ever be less than model quality perfection?  Will Declan’s rugged charms overcome his sideburns?  The answers to none of these questions will be particularly surprising.

All this is done with the minimum amount of effort.  There are a lot of attempts to add some quirky flavor to the locals, but aside from some occasionally impenetrable accents there’s no scene of genuine comedy.  The extent of what funny stuff remains consists of Anna stepping in fecal matter frequently, knocking assorted objects and people over, and basically misunderstanding the dialect of the locals.  Declan doesn’t even get many funny things to say, he just gets to stare off into the distance at random parts in the movie, wistfully remembering his own lost love.  All this might be at least passable if there was any sort of spark between our two leads.  As it stands they're very nice people that shared a kiss once, and then never should have given it a second thought.

Leap Year is an incredibly boring journey for everyone involved.  It’s the kind of film that was made with some leftover travel budget and contractual obligations that needed to be fulfilled.  It just so happens that Ms. Adams had one of those obligations and Mr. Goode just happened to be hanging around the studio bored, looking for just such a movie to showcase his scruff.  That the both of them couldn’t have found something better than Leap Year to star in is astounding.

DVD Bonus Features : Deleted Scenes.  That's all.

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Leap Year (2010)

Directed by Anand Tucker.
Written by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont.
Starring Amy Adams and Matthew Good.

Posted by Andrew

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